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The chief selectees’ mess

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More than 60 chief selectees worked at the Tipton County Veterans Museum and Nature Trail as part of an annual service project. Museum director Alice Fisher said the Navy saves the City of Covington thousands in maintenance costs. Photo by France Gasquet

Approximately 60 sailors from various commands at Naval Support Activity Mid-South volunteered their time to perform grounds maintenance and facility upkeep at the Tipton County Museum, Veterans Memorial and Nature Center on Friday, Aug. 16.
This community service project is one of many different undertakings the chief petty officer selectees, sailors selected for promotion to chief petty officer, will perform during a six-week training process designed to prepare them for the increased duties and responsibilities as chiefs. During the process, each selectee is assigned an experienced sponsor, and together they complete a variety of mental and physical exercises in addition to performing community service projects.
“As chief petty officers, we look forward to coming out to the Tipton County Museum, Veterans Memorial and Nature Center every year. It’s a very rewarding day for us and allows us to, in a small way, give back to the community by beautifying a facility that has a wealth of military heritage. I personally have a special bond with this event, as I was fortunate to be stationed here in 1999 when we first started the Navy Volunteer Day, and it is great to see that the tradition still carries on today,” said Command Master Chief Tuck Williams.
This marks the 14th year that Naval Support Activity Mid-South has pitched in to help the non-profit. The Covington Parks and Recreation Department, as well as City of Covington and Tipton County officials, are thankful for the continued support of the Navy chiefs and chief selects.
“Maintaining such a large facility is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor,” said Alice Fisher, director of the Tipton County Museum.  
“We feel very fortunate to have been adopted by such a wonderful group of people. As always, this group of sailors performed much needed ground and building maintenance, saving the City of Covington and Tipton County large amounts of maintenance funds. We cannot get volunteer help like this anywhere else. They do a wonderful job, and we are thankful to have been chosen as one of their annual community projects,”
The Navy Volunteer Day project is coordinated locally by the museum staff, Covington Parks and Recreation Director Amy Payne, Covington Public Works Director Robert Simpson, and the supervisors of the street and sanitation division of Covington Public Works, Tim Fayne and Danny Brown.
“Most people do not realize that the museum, which is an entity of the Covington Parks and Recreation Department, sits on 20 acres of land, most of which is a wooded wildlife sanctuary with a half-mile walking trail,” said Fisher.
“Maintaining the trail, the wetland and pond areas, the landscaped museum grounds, and the museum building itself is just a tremendous job. The Naval Support Activity Chief Petty Officers and Chief Petty Officer Selects have played a major role in making this a beautiful area.”
The selectees will be promoted to chief petty officers in a pinning ceremony at Naval Support Activity Mid-South on Sept. 13.

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