Yeoman Second Class Matthew Yandora wanted to find a way to keep busy during the two years he was assigned to Naval Station Guantanamo Bay. One way was to volunteer to be an NMCRS representative for the base.
“It’s a good way to help junior sailors,” Yandora said. “The most common need for assistance was to provide funds for emergency travel when shipmates had a serious illness or death in the family back in the states.” Yandora worked closely with Monika Woods, director of NMCRS Jacksonville, to secure funds and process the client’s paperwork.
Yandora also passed the time weaving bracelets out of paracord. To raise money for the Society’s Active Duty Fund Drive, he made and sold bracelets and donated the proceeds to the Society. He also makes bracelets with whistles attached for kids to use in an emergency. Paracord bracelets are popular both as an accessory and as survival gear, which can be unraveled and used as rope in a crisis.
Once he started volunteering for the Society and learned about the baby blankets given to expectant families who take the Society’s Budget for Baby class, Yandora enlisted his mom, who loves to crochet, to volunteer. Yandora said she’s already spent 300 hours making baby blankets for NMCRS Jacksonville.
Petty Officer Yandora, now stationed in Hawaii, plans to continue as a volunteer Society caseworker.