Interview by Melvin Gonzalvo
Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs
(Editor's note: Published in the Ho'okele magazine - October 2020 edition. This story features an exclusive interview with Jane Ferreira, executive director for the Navy League of the United States - Honolulu Council, highlighting the Navy League's relationship with the Navy and how they support Sailors, Marines, the Coast Guard and Merchant Marines.)
The Navy League of the United States (NLUS) is a citizens’ organization dedicated to serve, support and stand with all U.S. sea services — the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and U.S.-ﬂag Merchant Marine, since its founding in 1902 with the support of former President Theodore Roosevelt. Decade after decade, the Navy League has continued to demonstrate its leadership in advocating superior sea power to safeguard U.S. national security, protect American economic interests and ensure freedom of the seas.
It has three missions: to enhance the morale of active-duty personnel and their families; to share with our community the importance of maintaining strong sea services; and developing tomorrow’s leaders through youth leadership programs such as Sea Cadets, JROTC, Cyber Patriot programs, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Science Olympiad and more.
How did you first get involved in the NLUS?
I started volunteering with the Navy League in 2007, at the urging of retired Adm. Richard Macke. After retiring from Hewlett-Packard, I continued to volunteer and was then hired as the executive director in January 2016.
How does the NLUS Honolulu Council support/benefit military personnel in Hawaii?
We work closely with all sea service organizations and their families to make sure we are appropriately providing support and recognition. From celebrating ships and submarines upon their return from deployment and providing dinner for the duty station, to partnering and support the spouse organizations so they can live their best “milspouse” lives while in Hawaii, and hosting Aloha Welcome Academy briefs weekly for all new INDOCS [indoctrinations] upon their arrival on JBPHH [Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam] to share how they can save time, money and even their life.
What do you look forward the most about the annual Navy League Sea Services awards event?
The opportunity to recognize the best of the best within our Sea Services Excellence helped determine the ultimate victory of World War II. It cannot be packaged and distributed over the counter. It is a character asset and once acquired, it becomes a priceless ingredient in the mettle of those sea service members. These awards recognize that commitment.
Why is the 2020 Navy League Sea Service Award important?
The Sea Service awards are important because it gives the Navy League, our members and community partners the opportunity annually to recognize Excellence in Service as demonstrated by over 50 select senior enlisted members and junior grade officers. Their dedication to the pursuit of excellence on the job, and in their community, makes this one of the Navy League’s most celebrated events every year.
This is also an opportunity to recognize the recipient of the George S.B. Walters Award, presented to the top Pearl Harbor Naval Naval Shipyard civilian who demonstrated initiative, innovation, and teamwork. We also recognize the senior and junior Shipyard Repair professionals within the Shipyard Repair Association.
What is some feedback you receive from service members after the event?
Thank you making this recognition possible. Thank you to Navy League for always supporting and recognizing us. Thank you for soliciting the award submissions; now I know my hard work has been recognized.
What was one of your most memorable moments from a past event?
The awarding of the George S.B Walters award is always special because his son, himself a former shipyard crew member, and Dec. 7 survivor, is always there to be part of the award presentation. Witnessing the emotion of receiving the award with friends and family present is special.
What are some of the benefits of becoming a NLUS member?
We strive to provide members with unique and patriotic experiences. This year we were not able to provide as great a diversity of events, so we provided new opportunities to our members through online platforms. Instead of having luncheons and briefing with military leaders, we host events so military leaders can share their insights and deliver their briefings online by covering a variety of topics spanning the Pacific. We heard from Rear Adm. Robb Chadwick, commander of Navy Region Hawaii, and Capt. Gregory Burton, commander of Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility; we hosted Capt. Marc Delao, commander Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawaii; Cmdr. DonAnn Gilmore, commanding officer of PCU Daniel K Inouye. Rear Adm. John Adametz, fleet civil engineer for Pacific Fleet, is up next!
We all look forward to being able to return to hosting ship and command visits, and celebrating our service members in person. Membership and participation are vital to our organization and is the oil in the Navy League engine.
If someone wanted to be a volunteer, what type of other events can they support?
We can use volunteers for a myriad of things from luncheon, dinner, and event support, to office work, facilities support and more. The Navy League depends on passionate individuals to support those currently serving, and advocate for the sea services. Councils adopt ships and shore commands, reward and honor enlisted personnel, host dinners and celebrations for military personnel, and support family members left behind when spouses and parents are deployed. At the national level, membership allows you to help our legislative affairs team fight on behalf of our sea services and educate government officials. No prior military service is required to be a member. Active duty spouse can join at no cost and move their membership to the council nearest them as they PCS around the world. It is just our way to thank you for all you do!
What is the NLUS doing nationally, and locally, to battle COVID-19?
We are taking careful measures to protect our employees during this time, including steps like remote work and social distancing, while ensuring that our customer service remains a priority. We pledge to remain accessible to Navy League members as well as our service members during this time.
Please contact Jane Ferreira, Executive Director, at NavyLeagueJane@gmail.com or ExecutiveDirector@NavyLeagueHonolulu.org with any questions you may have. Please also reach out to our website at https://www.navyleaguehonolulu.org/contact.html and we'll be certain to address your needs quickly.
In what ways is COVID-19 affecting this year's event?
COVID has prompted us to modify the luncheon event where the awardees are recognized and celebrated, where families and commands are present to witness the awards, to a virtual event. While this is a big change, we wanted to maintain the annual celebration of these amazing members of the Sea Services!