MILLINGTON, Tenn. - A St. Paul, Minnesota, native volunteers in the Minneapolis, Minnesota, community to help those in neeed during Minneaopolis Navy Week, Sept. 26 - Oct. 2.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Isaac F. Contreras II is a 2017 South St. Paul Secondary graduate. Today, Contreras serves aboard USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, as a Navy aviation support equipment technician responsible for working on diesel engines and support equipment for aircraft.
Contreras joined the Navy three years ago to serve his country and to be a sailor.
"Serving my country has been something I’ve wanted to do since I can remember, but becoming a sailor is something I wanted to do since I found out my father served in the early 90s," said Contreras. "I was very patriotic from a young age. I was singing "Proud to be an America" in my church at the age of four, all the way to graduating high school in an American flag suit. I am very happy and proud of my decision to join."
Navy Weeks are the service’s signature outreach program, designed to give the citizens of Minneapolis the opportunity to learn about the Navy, its people and its importance to national security and prosperity, and to strengthen the service’s ties to the community.
Navy Weeks focus a variety of outreach assets, equipment and personnel on a single city for a week-long series of events with key influencers and organizations across the market. During a Navy Week, 75-100 outreach events are occur in participation with corporate, civic, government, education, media, veterans, community service and diversity organizations throughout the city.
"Having the opportunity to come home for this Navy week means a lot to me," said Contreras. "It gives me the chance to show others that there are opportunities other than going to college right away. Having the chance to start a career right out of high school or even later on, you are able to join something bigger than yourself and become a part of a small community. I am very thankful for this opportunity to be able to come home and give back to the community that helped shape me into who I am today. I am glad I made the decision to join and would definitely encourage others to do the same."
As a member of the U.S. Navy, Contreras, as well as other sailors, know they are a part of a service tradition providing unforgettable experiences through leadership development, world affairs and humanitarian assistance. Their efforts will have a lasting effect around the globe and for generations of sailors who will follow.
"Serving in the Navy has taught me a lot, not only about the job but also about working with others and myself," added Contreras. "Learning how to communicate with people from all over and different walks of life, and knowing that not everyone was raised the same way, helped me find different ways of thinking and getting past adversity from a different point of view."