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    Finding Your Passion



    Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert Stamer 


    The Navy, much like the rest of America’s armed forces, is an all-volunteer service that pulls from across the nation. Each Sailor has answered the country’s call to protect our security, our citizens, and our way of life, but Sailors are not just a fighting force or an extension of their military duties. They are neighbors, parents, siblings, teachers, caregivers, role models and sometimes, as in one Sailor’s case, even authors. Sailors, much like other service members, are a true microcosm of America’s diverse population and culture.
    Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Nina Kennedy, a yeoman for V-3 division of the air department aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), is a published author of poetry under the pen name “Rendon Santana.” Her first book is titled “Peephole To My Soul” and was self-published through Newman Springs Publishing on March 17, 2020.
    “It’s basically me giving my diary to the world,” said Kennedy. “The book itself has really personal stuff in it. It was my first book. There’re even some mistakes in it when I read the actual book, but I did it all by myself.”
    Kennedy said that whenever times got tough or emotional, she would turn to writing poetry. This is where the book’s title was derived from.
    “It was when I got into emotional things, and I just wanted to get them out and start talking about them, that’s usually when I started writing,” said Kennedy. “I talk about it like it’s my beginning life crisis, because I started writing it when I was 18, and I felt like my life was in shambles.”
    Kennedy said that she wrote from her personal experience, so if someone reads it and is going through their own personal issues, they will realize that they are not alone and that everyone goes through personal battles.
    “Someone could think they are by themselves when it comes to certain things in life,” said Kennedy. “They don’t know that everyone goes through almost the same [trials].”
    Kennedy joined the Navy in 2017 and has deployed with the Nimitz-class aircraft carriers USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) and USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). She continued to write in her free time, even while deployed.
    This recently published book was written periodically over three years,
    The Washington Surveyor • 15
    said Kennedy.
    “It was just something I did every day,” said Kennedy. “A lot of the poems are just thoughts and feelings that I had.”
    Kennedy said her growth and willingness to help others has been reflected in her job in the Navy.
    Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) 1st Class Amber Balajadia, leading petty officer of air department’s V-2 division and Kennedy’s mentor, said she has personally seen both Kennedy’s care for others and her own self-care firsthand.
    “She has grown as an amazing sailor,” said Balajadia. “She was someone who just came in and focused on herself, and now she mentors and trains her peers below her.”
    Balajadia said that Kennedy is able to juggle writing and going to college, all while continuing to perform and complete her daily military duties.
    On top of publishing one book, Kennedy’s authoring has only increased as she has completed a second book that has yet to be published, titled “Unapologetic,” and has started on a third book.
    Kennedy said she believes that there can always be time to do what one is passionate about, even while working under a hectic life or work schedule. One just has to find what they love and do it.
    “I believe that anything you can put your mind to, you can do,” said Kennedy. “I don’t think there’s such a thing as a limit besides the barrier you put on yourself.”
    Sailors like Kennedy are proof that the human element within the Navy is the drive to pursue healthy hobbies and passions that connect them to the world. Sailors, much like other service members, do have a higher calling to defend the nation, carry out the mission, and perform their duties honorably, but that does not mean they do not have lives outside of their service. Kennedy’s life is that of an artist, where she chooses to follow her passion for poetry and use it to help others. Through her writing and her art, she demonstrates the American nature and humanity of our armed forces. Sailors like Kennedy prove that despite the uniform, our hobbies, interests, and activities are not dissimilar from other Americans.



    Date Taken: 08.24.2020
    Date Posted: 12.31.2020 18:07
    Story ID: 386020
    Location: NEWPORT NEWS, VA, US 

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