Committee racks brains, racks cash[MIGRATE]

By Lance Cpl. Jared Plotts | May 11, 2004

The Camp Smith Marine Corps ball committee has been revamped. It's under new management but has kept some of its key veterans from last year. 

Each year, the committee works for months on end; sacrificing their time to make sure the Marine Corps birthday ball is as prestigious, worthwhile and memorable as any. Just as any sports team trains and competes year round to make it to their respective championship, the ball committee works year round for one common purpose.

"Our goal is to make the ball free for every Marine," said this year's president, Sgt. Jason R. Jones, G-5 operations chief. A goal that is no easy task, and Camp Smith would more than likely end up the only base to accomplish such a feat.

Last year's ticket prices were among the fleet average. Having the prices drop to nothing would take some serious effort.

"We're already on our way," said Jones. "It's a big goal and we know that. That's why we're working year round, and not waiting until it's too late."

This year's ball will be held at the luxurious Ko'olina J.W. Marriott hotel on the west side of the island, a change from its previous location in downtown Honolulu.

The committee, which consists of one representative from each MarForPac section, starts working at the beginning of the year, giving them 11 months of preparation.

"We need as much support as possible from the section heads, and their Marines," said Sgt. Tara Savage, purchasing and contracting specialist and committee member.  "The more Marines help out, the better their ball will be. "

"You take out what you put in. A lot of younger Marines aren't too sure what the ball is exactly about," said Sgt. Jeskah Ortega, supply NCO and two-year committee member.

The committee is continuously coming up with new ideas to help raise money. The more money they raise, the nicer the ball will be and the cheaper the tickets.

"I joined the committee to have fun, and bring in new ideas. That's what this year's committee is about," said Cpl. Kelvin Jones, account technician.

With just six months to go, the committee is coming up with new ideas such as a scavenger hunt, motorcycle runs, field day cookouts and auctions. At the same time the committee is sticking with what works, like car washes and field day buyouts.

With more support from the command, and volunteers stepping up to the plate when needed, the committee's goal can be reached. But they can't do it alone. Where would sports teams be without their fans? The very same principle is applied here.

The Marines on this committee have been doing an extraordinary job, and up until now, what they've accomplished has gone untold.  Now is the time to call Sgt. Jason Jones at 477-8567 to volunteer your talents or time to benefit the MarForPac birthday ball.