Marines, Henoko residents work together to clean up local community
HENOKO, Nago, Okinawa, Japan -- Volunteers young and old, Japanese and American, and military and civilian came together to put in a selfless, hard day’s work during a cleanup Jan. 20 for the benefit of the Henoko community in northern Okinawa.
The combined effort of Henoko citizens, members of Boy Scout Troop 102 and Camp Schwab Marines and sailors made the cleanup project a success.
“The scope of this project was truly unprecedented,” said Col. Richard D. Hall, the camp commander for Camp Schwab and commanding officer of 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “As Marines, we conduct regular cleanups and other community relations events, but to bring so many different parts of the community together like this is really something special.”
The work lasted approximately four hours, and resulted in volunteers removing more than nine truckloads of trash from Matsuda-no-Hama Beach, Peace Monument Park and a senior citizen’s recreation field.
The project was spearheaded by Boy Scout Troop 102, with the Camp Schwab community relations office assisting in coordinating the participation of local Okinawa senior citizens with Yasumasa Oshiro, the District Mayor of Henoko, and Nobuyuki Kinjo, Henoko Senior Citizens Association president.
“Camp Schwab has the privilege of working closely not only with the Boy Scouts, but also with local community leaders,” said Fumio Iha, the community relations specialist for Camp Schwab. “This project was something that we all knew would be beneficial, so we decided to combine our efforts.”
The cleanup effort took on even more significance because Tokusei Oshiro, the former president of the Henoko Senior Citizens Association and Mayor Oshiro’s uncle, passed away Jan. 13. The late Tokusei was a well-respected man in the community, and the volunteers dedicated the cleanup to his memory.
As testimony to the enduring friendship between the service members and the local community, the Marines and sailors of Camp Schwab will donate a plaque to be displayed in the recreation field.
The cleanup will become a semiannual event between service members, Boy Scouts and the local community, according to Hall.
“The Marines and sailors of Camp Schwab, the Boy Scouts of Troop 102 and the hard-working citizens of Henoko deserve all the credit for making this happen,” said Hall. “I’m proud to be a part of bringing this community together and continuing the outstanding relationship Camp Schwab has with the citizens of Henoko and other nearby communities.”