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Corporals clean up for community relations

Date Posted: 2004-08-27

GINOWAN, OKINAWA, Japan — Fourteen corporals from 3rd Transportation Support Battalion’s Corporals’ Course Class 2-04 volunteered to clean up Yomei-En, a retirement home here Aug. 12.

“This is the first time this corporals’ course has done something like this,” said Gunnery Sgt. Stephen L. Matthews, the company gunnery sergeant for Headquarters and Service Company, 3rd Transportation Support Battalion, and the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of the corporals’ course.

“Usually we do beach clean ups, but we wanted to do something different this time,” Matthews said.

The Marines cut grass, washed windows and swept walkways at the retirement home. They also pulled weeds and removed debris from around the building. The volunteers cleaned the retirement home for its upcoming family day, Matthews explained.

Yomei-En houses about 70 residents whose ages range from 70 to 106 years old. There are five female residents who are more than 100 years old, stated Masaaki Ishiki, community relations specialist for Marine Corps Bases, Japan.

After the Marines finished cleaning, they were invited inside to meet and talk to the home’s residents. Everyone at the home seemed appreciative of what the Marines had done for them, according to Cpl. Heath O. Catio, a landing support specialist, Landing Support Company, 3rd Transportation Support Battalion, and the class commander for Corporals’ Course Class 2-04.

“Projects like this allow Marines to better understand the Okinawan culture and get a better feel for the residents’ way of life,” said Catio

Volunteering to clean the retirement home is not a graduation requirement for the corporals’ course, but students usually perform community service to help them develop a sense of the importance of good community relations, Matthews explained.

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