Henrico County VA
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In the Navy Now

Through a phone conversation that spanned an ocean, U.S. Navy Mate Fireman Mark Davis, a 2008 graduate of Mills E. Godwin High, shared with the Henrico Citizen’s Caitlin Davis (no relation) a glimpse into what his daily life aboard the USS Harry S. Truman is like.

“The Navy has invested a lot in me, and I have invested a lot in the Navy,” he said.

Portions of his interview follow.


Henrico Citizen: Why did you decide to join the Navy?
Mark Davis: I have always wanted to join the military. I didn’t think that I would be very good at college. . .just my personality. I didn’t go to college because I was afraid of getting arrested or getting expelled. I was not quite as disciplined as I am now.

HC: What is it like living on a ship?
Davis: It’s kinda like a city, but it doesn’t feel like a city to me. There are 5,000 sailors, and I work at the bottom of the ship; I only see one-third of the crew. There are 182 other guys in the area where I sleep, and the bunk beds are stacked three high. If you can sleep, you do sleep. Overall it’s not too bad; sometimes space is a little small.

HC: Describe your job in the Navy.
Davis: I am usually turning wrenches most of the day. We monitor the seals and are responsible for the upkeep. Our gear is pretty well maintained. We do a good job of preventive maintenance. We have to make sure the ship doesn’t flood.

HC: What have you changed since being in the Navy?
Davis: There have been some subtle changes. I am more disciplined. I don’t get into nearly as much trouble as I used to; it’s hard to get into trouble with the Navy. If you show up on time, do your job moderately well. . .you’ll be fine.

HC: What have you learned in the Navy?
Davis: I was in the Boy Scouts while I was at Godwin. It taught me some leadership skills and how to deal with people from different backgrounds. Since being in the Navy, I learned that people from different backgrounds can still get the job done. I have also learned more leadership skills, more discipline, more control, and I have learned more about being a mechanic.

HC: So far, what has been your most memorable memory with the Navy?
Davis: I got to go out on the flight deck and watched as we went through the Strait of Gibraltar; on one side there was one continent, Europe, and on the other side there was another continent, Africa. Not many people get to see that.

HC: Is living on a ship a lonely life?
Davis: I don’t think it’s a lonely life. I had friends before I got on the ship. Sometimes it can be lonely when I hear about my friends who have gotten married and I don’t have a girlfriend. I can call and email my friends and family and keep in touch.

HC: What do you miss the most about being on land?
Davis: I miss being able to do things on my own time. I stay busy on the ship. I don’t feel trapped, and I don’t have time to miss dry land.

HC: What is something you would like to experience while in the Navy?
Davis: I would like to go inside the Arctic Circle. I want to stay in the Navy long enough to do that, but it depends upon what ship you get stationed on.

HC: What are your plans after the Navy?
Davis: I’m not sure yet. I have two years left in my current contract. I may reenlist, go to college or join the Marine Corps.
– Caitlin Davis


Community

Garden tails

The threat of bad weather didn’t keep visitors away from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden July 10 for the facility’s weekly Flowers After 5 event (which pairs music and food with a chance to stroll the garden) and its monthly Fidos After 5 (which allows dog owners to bring their pets with them to enjoy the evening). > Read more.

Western Henrico Rotary helps fund Midwives For Haiti Jeep


Thanks in part to a $10,000 gift from the Western Henrico Rotary Club, another bright pink Jeep modified to travel extremely rough terrain has been delivered to Midwives For Haiti so that more pregnant women in the quake-ravaged country will have access to prenatal care and a greater chance of surviving childbirth.

The funds were raised at the annual casino night held in February, club president Adam Cherry said. The Rotary Club also helped purchase the Virginia-based charity’s first pink jeep three years ago. > Read more.

Agencies combine on new entry point to Chickahominy


Canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts soon will have a new access point to the Chickahominy River. VDOT, the James River Association and Henrico County Parks and Recreation are teaming up to establish a new site in Eastern Henrico.

The James River Association negotiated the deal with VDOT to procure official access to the area located just east of I-295 on North Airport Road in Sandston. The site includes a park-and-ride commuter lot bordering the Chickahominy River and has been an unofficial launch site used by paddlers for years. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


An eclectic array of events are taking place this weekend throughout the county. In the West End, we have the Richmond Wedding Expo, the Under the Stars Family Film Series and Henrico Theatre Company’s production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes.” In the eastern part of the county, we have a blood drive at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, Gallmeyer Farm’s annual Sweet Corn Festival and an origami workshop at Fairfield Library. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

New Italian restaurant opens in Short Pump

Charlottesville's Bella’s Restaurant recently opened a location in Short Pump Village, at 11408 West Broad Street. The restaurant is owned by Valeria Biesnti, a native of Rome who arrived in the U.S. at age 21 and later became a U.S. citizen. With her restaurants, Bisenti has sought to create an ambiance that welcomes diners in a casual setting, like her favorites from her hometown. > Read more.

Henrico native to appear on Travel Channel show


A Henrico native will appear on the third episode of the Travel Channel's new grilling competition series “American Grilled.”

The episode, filmed in Charlottesville, will premier July 16 at 9 p.m. and feature Glen Allen-native Rex Holmes, a patent lawyer who operates http://SavoryReviews.com a blo,g centered around tasty recipes and BBQ.

The show features hardcore grilling enthusiasts from across the country going head-to-head for a chance to compete for a $10,000 cash prize and bragging rights when they are crowned the ultimate “grill master.” > Read more.

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