Marines volunteer, community benefits
KIN TOWN, OKINAWA, Japan — Marines with 7th Communications Battalion volunteered to assist with grounds maintenance at Hikarigaoka nursing home and at a nearby shoreline Feb. 14 in Kin Town.
The hard work and dedication of the volunteers with the battalion, part of III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, III MEF, continued a tradition of Marines volunteering to assist the Kin Town community.
“We came out here to help strengthen the longstanding relationship we share with the nursing home,” said Lance Cpl. Jordan A. Wayne, a data systems technician with the battalion.
The Marines mowed the lawn, as well as cleaned up the road in front of the nursing home to the delight of nursing home residents and staff.
“It’s always a great pleasure when the Marines come out to help clean up the area around the nursing home,” said Chiemi Okuma, the office manager for Hikarigaoka nursing home. “The staff and local community are always pleased and happy to see the hard work they do to help.”
The Marines of 7th Comm. Bn. have been volunteering at the nursing home, visiting residents on holidays, and providing grounds maintenance for the past 18 years, according to Okuma.
While one group of Marines assisted with grounds maintenance at the nursing home, another group cleaned the shore of a nearby bay.
“We started at one end of the bay and went all the way to the other side,” said Master Sgt. Ciriaco R. Ayala, the operations chief for the battalion. “I run by the bay quite frequently and recently noticed how much trash was on the shore. I couldn’t just leave it there, so I decided to ask the battalion’s Marines who would like to give back to the local community to come out and clean up the bay.”
The Marines filled up more than 20 bags with trash and five bags with recyclables.
“It’s great to see the Marines come out and help with such an event,” said Ayala. “It shows the local community that we are here to help and to give back to them however we can.”
The bay is one of the several places on Okinawa residents visit to harvest seaweed during the upcoming hijiki harvest, an annual collection of the seaweed, which is believed to promote good health and a long life.
As the cleanup came to an end, with the nursing home and bay once again looking their best, the Marines set off back to work having strengthened the already close ties between the battalion and the community.
“It’s a great pleasure to see what the Marines do to help out the local community,” said Okuma. “I am very grateful and can’t wait for them to come visit and help out once again.”