Station volunteers participated in the Single Marine Program’s 3rd Annual Days of Service Clean-Up Day at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, April 21, 2017.
The clean-up day was a way for service members to get involved and make a difference within the community by picking up litter.
“Picking up trash was what this event was for,” said U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Luis Rodriguez, a volunteer for the event. “We walked from the southside of the base to Northside at the main gate looking around for debris to pick up and walked all the way back to Penny Lake.”
Rodriguez said while they were walking, they had a chance to converse and meet new people around the air station they have never met before.
The Days of Service was a weeklong event focusing on different ways to get involved within the community each day. Volunteer service members spent time supporting the community by visiting a local Iwakuni nursing home, cutting and sorting coupons, teaching and playing chess with local Japanese students, cleaning and walking dogs at the base kennel and the finale being Clean-Up Day.
Before the event started, U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Kevin Lage, the SMP president for MCAS Iwakuni, was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal from U.S. Marine Corps Col. Richard F. Fuerst, commanding officer of MCAS Iwakuni, and U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Christopher J. Garza, sergeant major of MCAS Iwakuni.
“I received my NAM for my work aboard MCAS Iwakuni with SMP not only as president, which I currently sit, but I also sat as vice president chair,” said Lage. “I’ve worked as Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12 unit command team officer, and I have a billet that goes directly to Headquarters Marine Corps with (an) advisory committee that I’ve passed on to junior Marines and Marines replacing me.”
The clean-up was two hours of picking up trash and litter though out the air station.
After the clean-up, participating volunteers were invited to a barbeque picnic and participated in fun and games to celebrate their hard work and volunteer service.
Lage said the cookout was to give back to the Marines. To let them sit down, relax, get a free T-shirt, receive a letter of appreciation and enjoy a free meal with Marines from different units.
“We have Marines from Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 sitting with Marines from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152, MALS-12, Combat Logistics Company 3 6 and everybody from Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron to Marine Aircraft Group 12 hanging out and having a good time,” said Lage. “It’s the perfect opportunity for Marines that never get to see each other on a daily basis to network and hang out with each other.”
The SMP’s Days of Service Clean-Up Day had a total of 392 volunteers, surpassing their goal of 300 volunteers.
“We normally try to improve, so next year we’re going to be aiming for 400,” said Lage.
Story by Pfc. Stephen Campbell