In early March of 2012, a handful of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni volunteers traveled to the city of Ishinomaki in the Tohoku region to provide local communities with support through volunteer efforts.
ISHINOMAKI, Japan -- “Thanks to the professionalism of each and every one of the volunteers, we can collectively call this trip a huge success,” said Martin Ziola, Jr., Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni volunteer.
For the 39 volunteers who gave their time, five vehicles from aboard station were rented and two personally-owned vehicles were used to make the journey.
Each vehicle safely covered more than 1,500 miles while traversing the majority of Honshu, Japan’s main island, and driving to and from working sites daily.
Working across 15 different sites, doing jobs ranging from demolition to reconstruction, 1,326 man hours were accumulated by the volunteers, who saved thousands of dollars of labor cost.
“We should take a moment to reflect on what the populaces of the Tohoku region of Japan have endured,” said Ziola. “There are two things we should take away … The first is that even after a year, there are still people in need of help. The second is that even though Ishinomaki is far away, we can make a difference. There are still homes with no running water. There are entire towns which have been relocated and entire micro-economies wiped out. All donations, whatever form they may take, can make a difference. Please, keep the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in your mind.”
For the cost of two days travel and a few days of hard work, 39 volunteers who asked for nothing in return for their labor, gave not just their time, but also gave the gift of hope to a region of people who have suffered so much.
More information on the Ishinomaki volunteer trip, such as photos and a time line of the volunteer trip, can be found on the volunteer website iwakunivolunteer.org.