MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. (March 11) --
The constant chatter echoed from the back of the bus to the front of the bus, increasing to a dull roar upon approaching the front gate of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.
Approximately 50 kids with the Hilltop Christian School accompanied by a few teachers traveled all the way from Fuquay Varina to visit Cherry Point and receive displays from the Cherry Point aircraft rescue firefighters and the station military working dogs March 11.
The Cherry Point aircraft rescue firefighters have been providing displays for community groups for as long as Chief Warrant Officer 3 Tina M. Burt can remember.
“As long as I have been in, 18 years, I remember school tours and being involved in the surrounding community,” said Burt who is the officer in charge of the Cherry Point aircraft rescue firefighters.
In this past year alone, the firefighters have supported community relations by participating in 19 tours on base and three parades in New Port, Morehead City and Havelock.
“Kids love Marines and they love firefighters,” Burt said. “It is something that interests them and it is something that the Marines enjoy doing.”
Tracy Wilson, a teacher for Hilltop Christian School, agrees.
“I think the display was awesome and really think the kids appreciated the firefighters and the Marine Corps in general,” said Tracy Wilson, a teacher at the Hilltop Christian School. “We hope they continue to support these events for we would love to come back next year.”
During the tours, the firefighters usually show off their trucks, going from parts of the trucks to the equipment they use on the job. They then put their protective suits on which usually creates a reaction from the kids, for the firefighters look like astronauts when all suited up.
The kids ask constant questions about the gear the firefighters use and on most occasions stump the Marines giving the presentation.
“To see the admiration on the kid’s faces is the most rewarding aspect,” Burt added.
The firefighters also, depending on the weather shoot water from the bumper and roof turrets of the P-19 firetruck, providing the visitors with a real sight of what they do.
The Cherry Point aircraft rescue firefighters plan to keep supporting the community in the upcoming year and following years to come, added Burt.
If interested in receiving a tour of the Cherry Point aircraft rescue firefighters or tour of Cherry Point, contact Nancy Corbin at 466-4241.