NAVSUP Day of Service at Trails of Purpose

NAVSUP Day of Service at Trails of Purpose

Written by Michaela Darbyshire, Manager of Marketing & Events at United Way of South Hampton Roads

On Tuesday, March 5th, individuals from Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) were in town for their 2024 Commander’s Conference, when they decided to reach out to staff at United Way of South Hampton Roads to seek out a volunteer opportunity for their team. This diverse group traveled far and wide from various corners of the world – some making the trip from as far away as Japan and Europe.

“The engagement of a diverse group of volunteers showcases a strong commitment to supporting the military-connected community,” said Denzel Glover, Mission United Director. “The involvement of high-ranking officials from the NAVSUP group, like REAR ADMIRAL Kenneth W. Epps, further highlights the significance of this effort. This experience seems to have been both impactful and inspiring, reflecting a shared dedication to making a positive difference in the lives of those connected to the military community.”

Gathering their rakes, shovels, wheelbarrows, gloves, and pitchforks, nearly 50 military members from NAVSUP made the journey to Trails of Purpose to participate in a volunteer day at the farm. Trails of Purpose is a 501c3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide free mental health support to service members, and their families, specializing in equine-assisted therapy and additional mental health counseling services.

“Participating in this event was not only fulfilling but also enlightening… Equine therapy provides a unique and welcoming environment, particularly beneficial for our active duty and veteran military members,” Commander Amanda Jones of the NAVSUP Commander’s Action Group. “Working alongside each other, spreading mulch, and tending to fences fostered teamwork and camaraderie. Later in the afternoon, interacting with the animals allowed us to forge emotional connections, adding another layer of significance to our efforts.”

Throughout the morning, the NAVSUP group was broken down into teams to tackle the volunteer projects. Over the course of two hours, as one group worked on dispersing hay throughout the pasture, another group was inside the stables mopping the floors. Following the morning clean-up, members were invited to meet the therapy horses, and reflect on their meaningful morning.

“As the day concluded, a sense of achievement permeated the air, uniting us in a shared purpose,” Amanda said. “I am deeply appreciative for the opportunity to engage with this organization and its vital mission – it’s a reminder of the importance of supporting our military members in innovative ways and raising awareness about mental health challenges within our armed forces.”

There is nothing more special than when groups come together to support a bigger mission – and that’s what the NAVSUP Day of Service at Trails of Purpose reflects.