Volunteers gathered to discuss the plan and priorities of the Ishinomaki volunteer trip scheduled to take place in early March in the Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12 Building 1642 2nd deck conference room here Feb. 16.
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- The trip itself has three main priorities, said Capt. Martin F. Ziola, MALS-12 aircraft maintenance engineer officer. Getting everyone there and back safely, leaving a good impression by showing respect and providing happiness, and to supply superior volunteer services in whatever needs to be done.
With almost a year having passed since the devastation of the earthquake and tsunami which spawned Operation Tomodachi, the volunteer effort will focus on helping locals continue to rebuild their homes and lives.
“I’m (Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear),” said Lance Cpl. Kyle Dooley, Marine Aircraft Group 12 CBRN Marine.“I was up in the area for Operation Tomodachi. I saw how bad it was and it would be wrong of me to not volunteer.”
Marines and civilians sat around the room, discussing the details of the trip.
“I feel it’s good for you mentally to go out and do something good for someone else every once in awhile,” said Dooley.
The volunteer working locations are planned to span across the Ishinomaki area of the Miyagi prefecture, reaching out to support a very large area, in its cities and suburban districts.
“Work hard at whatever you’re doing and smile while you’re doing it,” Ziola said while speaking to the volunteers. “At the end of the day, when we’re all done and tired, you’ll look back and say,’wow, that was great.’”
For some volunteers, there were certain personal reasons which pulled them towards this opportunity.
“My wife is Japanese,” said Edwin T. Sanchez, Headquarters Marine Corps Far East government special security officer. “I feel like I should help the community because I’m involved in the community. If nothing else, I hope to at least make a small impact. Even if I can help just one family and how they live, I’ll be happy with the job I did.”
More information such as timelines, equipment to bring, billeting and other details as well as the opportunity to sign up for this trip and future efforts can be found at Iwakunivolunteers. org.