HAVELOCK, N.C. --
More than 15 Marines and Sailors with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron and 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing gathered at Graham A. Barden Elementary School in Havelock Friday as volunteers to prepare the school grounds for the students’ return from summer break as part of the H&HS’s adopt-a-school program.
The volunteers grabbed rakes, wheel barrels, hedge clippers, leaf blowers and power washers and got to work on a variety of clean-up and beautification projects.
“The purpose of this volunteer opportunity is to beautify our campus,” said Marilyn M. Brown, the school’s principal. “Appearance is everything, and the outside of the school determines what the inside is like in the eyes of the community.
“Having a beautiful and welcoming school is something the students take pride in,” said Chief Petty Officer Michael P. Larson, a supply chief with H&HS. “When they take pride in their school, they take pride in themselves,” he said.
“The volunteers are greatly appreciated by everyone; anytime the base personnel are contacted, they come,” said Alonzo J. Falls, the lead day custodian at the school.
With 29 schools in the district, it is very difficult for the maintenance staff to do everything on their own and have the schools ready by the end of summer, said Brown. That’s why the volunteers are so valued; they make a real difference for the school.
The squadron has been working hand in hand with the school for more than three years, said Larson. Typical projects include ice cream socials, carnivals, proctoring, festivals and field days. The young Marines and Sailors are always motivated to help out, he said.
“The school has a partnership with the base, “said Brown. “The servicemembers give their time and power to protect Americans’ freedom and still find time to volunteer.”
After many hours of hard work, the volunteers finished the school’s landscaping.
“There is always a need for volunteers and it means a lot for the people to know the military gives back to the community,” said Larson. “It is a very powerful thing.”