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Americans, Okinawans spruce up Oura Wan Beach

Date Posted: 2005-06-17

CAMP SCHWAB, OKINAWA, Japan — Visitors from around the world are attracted to Okinawa’s sandy, gently sloping beaches and tropical waters every tourist season. Nature created a beautiful coastline, but it’s the beachgoers’ responsibility to keep it that way.

Approximately 50 Americans and Okinawans took time out of their weekend to beautify the Oura Wan Beach shoreline during a beach clean up here May 21.

A few weeks ago, Marine Corps Community Services Semper Fit Aquatics scheduled a clean up of the beach aboard Camp Schwab after an evaluation of the shoreline conditions.

“The beach was in bad shape,” explained Kris Richardson, the Camp Schwab pool and beach manager. “We thought something needed to be done, so (Semper Fit Aquatics) adopted the beach and asked the community to come together and help out.”

The majority of beach clean ups on Okinawa occur in towns neighboring bases to ensure that servicemembers and their families fulfill their obligation to maintain Okinawa, according to Dyan Reeves, the northern area MCCS supervisor. This event was conducted to encourage Marines to keep the beachfront along Marine Corps camps looking great.

“We thought it would be nice to get the community together to clean an on-base beach rather than going off base,” Reeves said.

On the morning of the clean up, more volunteers came to do their part than coordinators anticipated, Richardson noted.

“The turnout was good,” he said. “We got a lot of people to come out for a good cause.”

A few weekend beachgoers decided to join the effort when they saw the volunteers.

“I came to the beach (to swim) and saw them cleaning,” said Lance Cpl. Raymond Suarez, a heavy equipment mechanic with Service Company, 7th Communications Battalion. “(The beach) looked pretty bad and I was happy to help.”

After the two-hour clean up, the good samaritans were rewarded with a feast of hotdogs, fresh Mahi-Mahi and shark provided by local Okinawan fishermen and The Palms, the enlisted club aboard Camp Hansen.

“It made my day a lot better knowing that I did something good,” Suarez said.

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