MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
Marines and civilian-Marines from Marine Corps Logistics Command participated in the United Way of Southwest Georgia’s 23rd annual Day of Caring in Albany, Ga., Friday.
Of the more than 330 volunteers from throughout Albany who took part in this year’s event, 220 were from LOGCOM.
The United Way’s Day of Caring is an event that matches teams of local volunteers with area non-profit agencies to help with various projects.
The event gave volunteers a chance to make a difference in the lives of others through creative and hands-on experiences.
The day of volunteerism and fun began with a kick-off at the Albany Harley Davidson parking lot with opening remarks by Brooke Willoughby, volunteer coordinator, United Way, and an invocation by Salvation Army Capt. Doug McClure.
Among the guest speakers were Cindy Wisham of Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia; Sharon King, chairperson, United Way Community Impact; and Brig. Gen. James A. Kessler, commanding general, LOGCOM.
Kessler expressed his appreciation for United Way organizing Day of Caring with LOGCOM and thanked the large volunteer force for wanting to make a difference in the Albany community.
“This (Albany) is a remarkable community. As Marines, we move around a lot and see different communities. After nearly 30 years of moving around, I never have been in a community where I have received a warmer reception than Albany, welcoming us with open arms,” he said.
In appreciation of his warm welcome to Albany, Kessler said the Day of Caring is a way to reciprocate.
“This is our opportunity, as a Marine Corps family, to give back to the community and to share our time, talents and make an impact on those in the community that need help,” he said. “This is a way of thanking the wonderful Albany community for what they provide for all of us.”
Kessler thanked all the volunteers, wishing them a safe and productive day.
Cindy Wisham of Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia spoke about what the Day of Caring meant to her and her organization.
“On behalf of Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia, thank you. This organization is made up of 99 percent volunteers and I can’t tell you how important you are,” Wisham said. “You may not be able to see the seed you plant today come to fruition, but you are making a difference.”
At the Girl Scout camp, one person normally cares for more than 330 acres and numerous buildings. Volunteers assisted with painting, cleaning cabinets and dining halls and dusting, which is a job in itself, according to Wisham.
“For all organizations that United Way helps support, you are tremendously appreciated. If this is the only time this year you volunteer, your impact is phenomenal because collectively you will make the biggest difference in this community on this day that we have seen in a while,” Wisham said.
The volunteer teams worked on projects at nine locations across the region, including non-profit agencies such as Therapeutic Riding Center, Palmyra Nursing Home, Albany Health Care, the Boys and Girls Club, the Thronateeska Heritage Center and Habitat for Humanity.
Volunteers at the Therapeutic Riding Center cut grass in the riding fields, scrubbed water troughs, felled a tree, repaired barn walls and bathed and groomed horses.
At Palmyra Nursing home, volunteers painted courtyard furniture, filled bird feeders, visited and played bingo with the nursing home residents while others at the Flint River Habitat for Humanity helped to renovate a home and finish building two houses.
For Sgt. Marlon Madden, motor transport evaluator, Mobile Maintenance Assist Team, LOGCOM, this was his second year volunteering for the Day of Caring.
“This is a great opportunity for the Marines to get out into the community and help out those who need it the most. We are one community,” said Madden, who worked at the Therapeutic Riding Center.
According to the New York native, this was his first time working on a farm.
For one civilian-Marine, the experience has inspired her to want to do more in the community.
“The experience really helped me see what our community does for our children and where we need to do more to help,” said Teresa Brown, information technology specialist, Command, Control, Communications and Computers, Command Support Division, LOGCOM, after working at the Boys and Girls Club for the day. As another first-time volunteer, she was one of 20 volunteers to paint walls, clean and sweep the gym floor, clean carpet, repaint the stripes in the parking lot, trim hedges, rake leaves and dust furniture.
“This is an opportunity for us to give back to the community because the Marines and civilian-Marines get a lot of support from the community,” she said. “I think it helped us to see that our community is in need and there are things individuals can also do. You really don’t realize it until you go out in a group like this.”
Willoughby expressed her thanks for the LOGCOM volunteers.
“We are very thankful to have the LOGCOM volunteers here this year. They are a big, big part of this day. They have the majority of teams and without them we would not have near as much participation as we do,” Willoughby said. “We would love to have the volunteers from the base come out again next year.”
According to Kessler, giving back to the community is very important.
“The United Way Day of Caring is a great tradition, and we wanted to participate in giving something back to the community. We are part of this community so it is very important that we give something back that is tangible,” Kessler said.
LOGCOM’s Installations Environment and Safety office coordinated the event with United Way.
United Way of Southwest Georgia serves Baker, Calhoun, Crisp, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Lee, Mitchell, Randolph, Terrell, Wilcox and Worth Counties.
For more information, visit their Web site www.unitedwayswga.org, or call (229) 883-6700.