Community members, Marines, sailors come together for beach cleanup
KIN TOWN FISHING PORT, OKINAWA, Japan -- More than 100 Marines and sailors from Camp Hansen volunteered to help with an annual beach cleanup Aug. 23 at the Kin Town Fishing Port.
The Kin Town Social Welfare Office coordinated the event, and invited local residents and Camp Hansen military members to pick up trash and enjoy local cuisine.
“Camp Hansen is very close to Kin Town,” said Takayuki Kayo, the Camp Hansen community relations specialist. “They try to be good neighbors to each other.”
Marines and sailors worked alongside community members from local businesses and schools.
“Doing the right thing and helping people out when they need help was how I was raised,” said Staff Sgt. Jerome Owens, a Florence, South Carolina, native and infantry unit leader with Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
Event coordinators provided volunteers with trash bags and gloves for them to help clean the beach. After filling the bags, they loaded them onto a truck that hauled the trash away.
“We got a lot of stuff out from in between the rocks,” said Cpl. Gary Odom, a field radio operator with the BLT. “We got plastic and metal out of the water. We all worked together to get the job done.”
As an added benefit, many Marines and sailors discovered a different part of Kin Town. The Kin Town Social Welfare Office thanked the volunteers by providing a lunch of Okinawa soba, fried vegetables and fish.
“Everyone put in a helping hand,” said Odom, a Toledo, Ohio, native. “I came out here because I saw an opportunity to help out the community. It was a great, new experience because I had never been here before.”
The annual beach cleanup attracted a large crowd, and smaller groups of volunteers are organized throughout the year to maintain the beaches.
“Cleanups are a great opportunity for Camp Hansen (Marines) to get together with the locals,” said Kayo, an Okinawa City, Okinawa, native. “We were fortunate today. It was a great turnout.”