Kitsap County delegation asks, 'Anyone for Stennis?'

A delegation of Kitsap County business and government leaders will travel to San Diego later this month to outline local opportunities for the families of the USS John C. Stennis’ crew.

The aircraft carrier will use Bremerton as its home port as of January.

“We’re going down to explain about our community to the families of 3,500 crew members,” said community resources coordinator Terrie O’Neill. “We anticipate a lot of families will move up here after school lets out in June.”

The trip, which includes 25 people, is dubbed “Kitsap SIzzles” and will take place April 19-21.

All participating agencies are paying their own travel expenses. Kitsap County is sending three employees, slotting the cost as an economic development expense.

“The Navy is the largest employer in Kitsap County,” O’Neill said. “They have a big impact on housing and transportation.”

While in San Diego, the delegation will attend an event in its honor, called a “pre-deployment and homeport fair.” All crew and family members are invited, and each department will present information about its particular strength.

“It’s our responsibility to inform our people what they need to have taken care of,” said Lt. j.g. Ayeta Heatley. “We need to give them a heads up about what to expect in Bremerton. They need to be informed so they are not caught off guard, and we need to give them every means for preparing themselves for the move.”

According to O’Neill, the delegates will focus on presenting employment information to crew spouses who are seeking a job. Realtors and representatives of Olympic College are also making the trip.

“I think Bremerton will be a great home for the Stennis,” Heatley said. “The weather is different, and it’s a different lifestyle, but it’s got a lot to offer.”

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