Marines, sailors transform bus stops into ‘Habitats’
SANTA RITA, Guam -- Two bus stops sit on the side of a gently sloping street, paint worn and peeling from the rain and the hot sun, and its walls decorated with permanent marker and spray paint poetry.
In a few hours, a small group of individuals are able to transform the dilapidated bus stops into a place where children can feel safe and comfortable as they wait for the bus every day.
Marines, sailors and members of Habitat for Humanity of Guam painted bus stops Sept. 27 in Santa Rita, Guam, as part of a volunteer project to help the local community.
The overall mission of Habitat for Humanity is to build or rehabilitate homes for local families in need, according to Alicia P. Aguon, the executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Guam.
“Even though these bus stops are not houses, this is a shelter for kids,” said Aguon, a native of Tamuning, Guam. “They come here before school and after school, so this is a temporary habitat for the kids in this community.”
The first order of business for repainting the bus stops was to scrape and peel off the old paint the coated the walls. The service members then began painting and decorating the concrete structures.
Participating in volunteer projects is a good reflection of the Navy and Marine Corps’ core values of honor, courage and commitment, according to Petty Officer 1st Class Cosme P. Rosete, a religious program specialist with Marine Aircraft Group 12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
“Volunteering helps make a good name for the people you’re representing,” said Pfc. Bryan A. Tellado-Aponte, a tropospheric scatter radio multi-channel equipment operator with Marine Wing Communications Squadron 18, Marine Air Control Group 18, 1st MAW, who often volunteers back on his home station.
It gives Marines an opportunity to meet new people, have fun, and most importantly, to help out, according to Tellado-Aponte, a native of Chicago, Illinois.
“A huge part of the success of what we’ve been able to accomplish is the partnership with the Marines, the Navy and also the airmen up on Andersen (Air Base),” said Aguon. “The military is a big support group that helps us reach our goals.”
The Marines and sailors endured the heat and the rain that plagued the project with good spirits, lifted even higher by the words of thanks called out of cars that drove by.
By the afternoon’s end, the bus stops were finished, looking much different than they had a few hours prior. They stood tall with their new paint jobs, the words, “Habitat Guam” written on the inside and the Eagle, Globe and Anchor, the emblem of the Marine Corps, painted on the outside.
“I joined not for myself, but to serve, and (volunteering) is the epitome of service,” said Rosete, a native of Waimanalo, Hawaii. “It’s not about just going out, deploying, and fighting for your country; even doing things that can have an impact (on a local community) – that’s service.”