Wish comes true for 15-year-old at Naval Base Guam

by MC1 Gabrielle Blake
Naval Base Guam

SANTA RITA – “I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic…”

These are the words of the oath said by every single person who enlists in our military. On March 4, 15-year-old Robert Blas was able to share in a similar experience when he became a ‘Sailor for a Day’ during an honorary enlistment on U.S. Naval Base Guam.

Blas was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and diabetes insipidus when he was born and until a few years ago, was not able to walk. With the help of the Make-A-Wish foundation in Guam and NBG personnel, Blas was able to make one of his wishes a reality, becoming a U.S. Navy sailor.

Capt. Hans Sholley, commanding officer of NBG, coordinated with Make-A-Wish Guam to launch the NBG SFAD program to do something special for children in circumstances similar to Blas’.

“The SFAD program is a chance for the child and their family to have a fun experience and perhaps forget about some of the serious circumstances that have led them to the Make-A-Wish program,” Sholley said. “It provides a unique opportunity to show these children ‘a day in the life’ of a United States Sailor and allows the military community the opportunity to collectively ‘roll out the red carpet’ and give a child with challenging life circumstances an unforgettable experience.”

Blas’ adventure started with his enlistment into the Navy, uniform issue, and a ride on a U.S. Coast Guard small boat.

“USCG Sector Guam was truly honored to be a part of Robert’s wish,” said Capt. James Pruett, Coast Guard Sector Guam commander. “Robert saved the day on board the 45’ Rescue Boat out in Apra Harbor. He is an inspiration to the crew and Coast Guard and we hope this experience was as rewarding for him as it was for us.”

Blas’ grandmother and guardian, Mary Yoshida, accompanied him as he took a ride on the NBG firetruck. He was also integrated with Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Five and Naval Special Warfare Unit One, taking tours, controlling robots, and observing demonstrations. He received an evaluation of his performance, End of Tour award, and a command coin as a testament to a job well done.

Robert was recently gifted a PlayStation 4 by Make-A-Wish Guam so he could play his favorite game, Call of Duty Black Ops, and said he was excited to be able to become a “Sailor for a Day” and meet some of the people who get to do the sort of missions he plays in the game.

The mission of Make-A-Wish is to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.

“Make-A-Wish Guam and Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands is excited for this new partnership with Naval Base Guam as is our Wish kid, Robert,” said Eric Tydingco, Make-A-Wish Guam/CNMI executive director. “With a significant number of our local population either active duty, guard or reserve, children are already familiar with folks in the military. We’re happy to add this Wish Enhancement to Robert’s Wish and we’re grateful to Capt. Sholley and the Naval Base Guam team for participating in the program.”

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