MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- The Marine Memorial Chapel at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, coordinated a community relations event where seventeen volunteers visited the Vita Nursing Home in Iwakuni Dec. 16, 2015.
The visit provided volunteers the opportunity to experience Japanese culture, lend a helping hand and further cement the U.S. and Japan relationship.
“We were able to give back to the Japanese community,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Precious Cannon, aviation ordnance technician with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron. “It helps us build a stronger relationship between the U.S. and Japan.”
Volunteers sang Christmas carols, provided baked goods and gifts and wished nursing home residents a Merry Christmas.
“The volunteers talked to all of us even though we don’t speak the same language,” said Sawako Nishioka, a Vita Nursing Home resident from Iwakuni. “They shook our hands or gave us hugs and made us feel warm.”
Nishioka said the volunteers gave them a merry atmosphere with songs and the residents were thankful for all of the gifts.
“It was really fun with everyone wearing holiday attire and singing in English,” said Nishioka. “That made me feel like it was Christmas.”
Nursing home residents expressed their gratitude and even shed tears of joy toward the volunteers.
“My favorite part was seeing the smiles on their faces,” said Cannon. “Some of them cried, and knowing that I can put a smile on someone else’s face brought joy to me.”
Cannon said she believes more residents should come to future events for a good opportunity to explore and interact with the community.
For information on upcoming events, call the Marine Memorial Chapel at 253-3371.