by Rick Burke, Navy Office of Community Outreach Public Affairs
A 2000 graduate of Souderton High School and Souderton, Pennsylvania native, volunteers in the Portland, Maine community to help those in need.
U.S. Navy Reserve Petty Officer 1st Class Michelle Bellino is a logistics specialist and Leading Petty Officer (LPO) serving at Surge Maine Bangor, a special needs program for Naval Sea Systems Command.
“It means a lot to me to give back to my community and help the needy,” said Bellino. “Some are not able to help themselves due to mental illness and lack of family support and me volunteering, makes a small change in their lives. Another reason is to show my children how to be humble and to teach them what it means to be a good citizen and give back to our community.”
As a logistics specialist, Bellino is responsible for providing supply and logistic support for shore and afloat forces. This involves purchasing, tracking and expediting high priority material for the command and air wing. Additionally, she manages budget and financial controls for multiple departments within her command.
Her duties as the LPO of her command includes numerous responsibilities.
“I manage the administrative needs of a 15 member unit and ensure they are all qualified to work in the shops with shipyard employees, to properly perform refueling, overhaul, repairs and inactivation of submarines and other ships assigned to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, New Hampshire.
Bellino volunteered at the Preble Resource Center during Portland Navy Week, a program intended to increase Navy awareness by presenting the Navy to Americans who live in cities that normally do not have a significant naval presence.
The Preble Street Resource Center is the hub of services for hundreds of homeless people in Portland—meeting urgent needs at an on-site clothing closet, soup kitchen, and food pantry; coordinating hours with the City of Portland Men’s Shelter, and providing direct access to casework services.
“Sailors look for and enjoy volunteer opportunities,” said Cmdr. Kathleen Allen, officer in charge of Navy Reserve (NR) Navy Recruiting District (NRD) Minneapolis. “Petty Officer Bellino is a great example of the high performance and dedication we share by volunteering in the local communities. Our Sailors make a difference every day.” NR NRD Minneapolis supported NRD New England in community relations’ events throughout the week.
Bellino has carried lessons learned from her hometown into to her military service.
“I was raised how to treat people with respect and a lot comes from the way that I was raised with a military background,” said Bellino. “This upbringing made me want to join the Navy because it was always something that I had no doubt I could excel in.”
“Playing in organized sports such as soccer and basketball, gave me the opportunity to learn teamwork and develop friendships that helped me become a people-person. That helped me get through some difficult times in the military; such as being out to sea and working in a stressful environment with no sleep,” she added.
Bellino has military ties with family members who have previously served and is honored to carry on the family tradition.
“My father received a Purple Heart during Vietnam War as an Army infantryman serving on the banks of Cambodia,” she said. “I’m also married to a Navy veteran I met in the military while serving aboard the aircraft carrier, USS George Washington.”
Bellino’s proudest accomplishment was receiving her first Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medal while serving a six-month deployment with a beach detachment unit, which provided support for George Washington at Naval Air Station (NAS) Sigonella, Italy.
“I was solely responsible for the manifestation of cargo and high priority aircraft parts while providing daily status reports,” said Bellino. “This unique opportunity allowed me to mature both professionally and personally and taught me the necessary skills needed to perform in a leadership role.”
The morals and values instilled from serving in the Navy have molded Bellino into a leader and continue to develop essential traits needed for success.
Bellino said her service in the Navy is important because she gets to work in a profession that allows her to fight for her country and provides an opportunity to work in challenging environments.
“This is something that I will always be proud of and my kids can see how their mother actively served in the military to give them a better life. The Navy was able to mold me into an honorable person that my peers and family members could be proud of,” she added.