Marines volunteer, assist Uruma City during safety campaign
URUMA CITY, OKINAWA, Japan -- Uruma City police officers, volunteers and Marines took part in the Uruma City Police Department’s drive safely campaign by serving as crossing guards April 8 and 15 in Uruma City.
Marines with Headquarters Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, took part in the campaign to promote safety for children on their way to school by teaching them how to properly cross the road.
“We are assisting the Uruma City Police Department in enforcing traffic safety as part of their two-week safety campaign,” said 2nd Lt. Andrew K. Williams, a logistics officer with the battalion. “The first week, we helped out at Tengan Elementary School, and (this week) we are finishing up the campaign by ensuring the children are able to safely cross Route 8 to Kawasaki Elementary School.”
The month of April is when new first-grade students start attending school, according to Tsuyoshi Uejo, a police officer with Uruma City Police Department.
“With having new students, we have to educate them,” said Uejo. “The morning rush hour can be a dangerous time to cross the road. We came here to promote the drive safely campaign, educate the people, and protect the children.”
Like many roads on Okinawa, the roads in front of Tengan and Kawasaki Elementary Schools are busy during the time when students are walking to school, according to Lance Cpl. Josiah A. LeCleir, a ground radio operator with the battalion.
“We are making sure the children are safe by stopping traffic and helping them cross the street,” said LeCleir. “Both the drivers and the children need to be alert to the potential harm which could come from not paying complete attention to their surroundings.”
In order to increase the visibility and safety of the children, the volunteers taught them proper crossing procedures.
“One of the things we teach the new students is not to run,” said Uejo. “It can be difficult for drivers to see the children at times, and if they try to run across the street, it increases the chance of them getting hurt. We also teach them to only cross at designated crosswalks, raise their right hand above their head, and look left and right to see if the cars are stopping. Raising their hand signals to drivers that the child is about to cross the road.”
The help of the Marines was greatly appreciated, according to Uejo.
“I would like to say thank you to the Marines of Camp Courtney for their help and cooperation in this safety campaign,” said Uejo. “We are all a part of the same community, and it is always good when we can come together to help each other.”