Friend Ships recruiting new Sea Hawks - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Friend Ships recruiting new Sea Hawks

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Some people measure success by what they have in the bank or how much power they have. But for others, success is responding to the call to serve others. 

That call is coming from Friend Ships at Port Mercy where young adult volunteers known as "Sea Hawks" train to serve others. It's work on a sailboat that will one day help bring relief to victims of disaster.

Audrina Gomez, 22, from South Carolina, is an officer in training. 

"It's a sailing vessel we have for the Sea Hawks program and we want it to be a sort of taxi in between so when we go to other countries to bring things there and to also teach Sea Hawks how to sail because it's small enough that you can learn how to work the sails and learn the sailing terminology," said Gomez.

Hanna Riley is 25 years old and already starting her seventh year at Friend Ships. She's director of food service and making chicken chili for 40 people. Riley  loves her life with Friend Ships in Lake Charles and on relief missions.

"I'm always traveling back and forth from the United States to Haiti on one of our vessels for about four months, bringing cargo back and forth into Haiti from the United States," said Riley.

The Friend Ship's  lifestyle is probably not for everybody but those who seem to enjoy it the most are the ones who have a true passion to serve others.

"I'm walking in faith each step of the way. My heart is for the broken and the lonely and that's one of the things we get to do here is to reach out to the broken and the lonely, the widows and the orphans. And so, to me that's amazing," said Riley.

The Sea Hawks also work hard to be fit, since relief efforts are usually physically demanding.

Murray Douglas is commander of the Sea Hawks. 

"We teach the young people how to become young men and women, how to stand on their own two feet, how to think for themselves. A lot of what we teach is how to become confident in what it is that you're doing," said Douglas.

And so, the young people commit to a strict lifestyle but over the year usually come away with skills and character development that shapes their future.  

Friend Ships accepts new students in their youth training program twice a year. The next program starts Aug. 13, so now is the time to sign up.

Click HERE to hear more of our interview with Douglas look for the web extra at

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