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Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
Marines visit, aid 'Valentine's Day' tornado victims

By Sgt. Christina Lovett | | March 22, 2001

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Instead of a day with computers and vehicles, Marines spent time hammering nails and cutting wood Friday at the Habitat for Humanity in Camilla, Ga.

Marines in support of the Single Marine Program, headed by Sgt. Reginald Jones, supply administration technician, teamed up to help the local community house needy families.

?This is a community event that Marines should give time to support,? said Jones, a Columbus, Miss., native.

?I?m glad I can do something positive for the community,? said Lance Cpl. Nijah Ansari, a systems support technician and native of Atlanta, Ga.

Many of the Marines who volunteered simply considered what they would want if their own family were in need.

?It?s a good thing to do to help other people,? according to Cpl. Kevin Williams, Business Division, ?because you may be in the same situation sometime.

?Give and you shall receive,? said the Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., native.

Cpl. Alvin Payne, a Service Record Book clerk and Dublin, Ga., native, agreed, ?think of volunteering as if it were you or one of your family members who lost their home -- you would want someone to come out and help you. You have to take this type of thing personal,? he said.

Marines also volunteered to be able to share some of the good fortune they have received.

?I can donate some quality time to help others live as comfortably as I do,? said Sgt. Arnold Wilson, platoon sergeant at the Garrison Mobile Equipment Branch, and Killeen, Texas, native.

Aside from the spiritual or inner gratification felt from helping those in need, these Marines found even more reason to volunteer for the Habitat for Humanity program.

?You can pick up a trade by helping out here,? said Jones. ?Now there are Marines who know how to put siding up or lay shingles, and how to work with different tools.

?In five or six hours, you can pick up a basic skill that you didn?t have before,? he said.

Marines also took advantage of the opportunity to spend time away from their everyday duties in their offices.

?You can get out from behind your computer all day, and work outside with your hands for a change,? said Ansari.

Through whichever reward each Marine found with volunteering, the true benefits are their accomplishments.

?There are a lot of people living in dilapidated, substandard housing, and the sooner you can get them into a decent home, the sooner their overall life will improve,? said Allan Newkirk, an Americus/Sumter County Habitat for Humanity affiliate, who worked beside Marines at the Camilla site Friday.

?The overall benefit is to the community,? said Newkirk.

Newkirk also expressed the importance of volunteers for the success of the Habitat for Humanity program.

?The volunteers are the core of the program -- they make the program work,? he said. ?The volunteer base is the key to the longevity of the Habitat for Humanity.?

Laurie Dubois, the volunteer coordinator for the Habitat for Humanity site in Camilla, was impressed with the Marines? conduct while working at the site.

?I was amazed by the team [of Marines] we had out here today,? she said. ?I was stunned by how quickly they got organized and had things together. They had a system.?

?They were highly motivated, and very structured,? said Dubois. ?They fell in and had things going so quickly.?

The Single Marine Program volunteers left a supportive, positive impression on personnel at the Habitat for Humanity site.

?We really appreciate the ongoing support from the Marines,? Dubois said.

?Any time we have been short on volunteers, there?s always a group of Marines willing to come out and give a helping hand.  That says a lot,? she said.

The Single Marine Program will participate in the Habitat for Humanity on March 31. To volunteer, call Sgt. Jones at 639-5503.

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