U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific

 

U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific

In Any Clime and Place

Marines volunteer time with athletes

By Sgt. Reina Barnett | | May 07, 2004

U.S. MARINE CORPS FORCES PACIFIC, CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii -- Marines and Sailors from Marine Corps Base Hawaii and Marine Forces Pacific volunteered their time and talents April 25, when the Windward Oahu Special Olympics held its 2004 Track and Field Competition on the athletic field of Henry J. Kaiser High School in Hawaii Kai. 

Athletes participated in various track events such as the 100 meter dash, 100 meter walk, and the 800 meter run.  Some of the field events included boys and girls shotput, softball throw and running long jumps.

Started in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics was born when Shriver started a day camp for people with mental retardation.  Shriver organized the First International Special Olympics Games at Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois.  Since then, millions of people volunteer their time and talents to this organization. 

"I wanted to help out," said Cpl. Bradley G. Reardon, helpdesk technician for MarForPac G-6.  Reardon, who used to run track when he was in school, was the head official for the track meet. 

There's nothing better than helping others less fortunate than us, said Reardon.

Sgt. Mark Moreno, strategic air noncommissioned officer, G-4,

MarForPac, announced the different track and field events, supplied encouraging comments and cheered on the athletes as they set out to qualify for the Hawaii State Summer Games.  This was Moreno's first year volunteering with the organization, but he was not alone.  There were many volunteers at the track meet. 

Sgt. Maj. Dorsey E. Roberts Jr., battalion sergeant major, 3rd battalion, 3rd Marines, has volunteered with the Special Olympics in Hawaii for seven years. 

"I enjoy being here and making a difference," said Dorsey.  "It's something I can do with my whole family; it's easy to do and it's fun."

Volunteering is such a good way to get Marines, sailors and family members out in the community, said Roberts. 

"It gives us [the military] a good name and a good reputation in the community," Roberts continued.

Sunday's track meet drew about 45 Marines and sailors from various commands, all of whom, voluntarily request to be kept informed of events they can contribute their time to.

Windward Oahu area director for the Special Olympics, Lilia Roberts, gave the base an enormous amount of credit for its volunteer

efforts.  "Over the last  four years, we've had approximately 5,000

volunteers from the base," said Mrs. Roberts.  "The volunteers are amazing, and they are so sincere about their efforts." 

Not only do the volunteers participate in the Special Olympics, but they also give their time to Toys for Tots, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts and Windward area schools.

"We simply can't hold these important events without them," said Nancy Bottelo, CEO and President of Special Olympics Hawaii, speaking of the volunteers she sees, cooking lunch, being escorts, keeping score and coaching. 

"The military has always provided volunteers, transportation, and sometimes even food," Bottelo said.  "It means so much to have military men and women volunteer their time.  They are the people these athletes respect and look up to.  They are good people doing good things."

"Having the military involved in our events will hopefully make others step up.  To see that these men and women have the time to volunteer and still complete their military missions is just awesome," said Bottelo.

For more information on how you can make a difference in the lives of Special Olympics Windward athletes, please call (808) 254-5705 or sohwindward@earthlink.net