WAIANAE, Hawaii --
Marines, civilians and family members from U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific volunteered their time to create a better, safer home for rescued animals at the Friends for Life Animal Rescue Shelter here March 13.
Friends for Life houses more than 50 animals at a time, including dogs, cats and even turkeys. The animals are rescued, restored to health and prepared for adoption into a loving family. To date, the shelter has found homes for approximately 300 animals.
Master Sgt. Heather Brodersen discovered the shelter during her search for a dog several months ago. In the last few months, storms and flooding have caused significant damage to the shelter grounds.
“I wanted to go out there to help, but there was more to be done than I could do alone. I talked to a few people around MarForPac and decided to take a group out there,” Brodersen said.
Volunteers spent the day making the environment safer for the animals by laying down lime to repel fleas and ticks, removing obstructive tree branches and picking up trash around the area. They also got the chance to spend some time playing with the animals.
Lanny Moore, who is in charge of daily operations at Friends for Life, was overjoyed by the help the Marines provided, saying it would have taken him weeks to do what they accomplished in a day.
More than 2 years ago, Moore took over the day-to-day operation of the shelter from his mother. Along with local volunteers, he feeds, bathes and provides health care for the animals.
“It is very challenging. I find ways to make this work. I came into this knowing it would be tough. Any help I can get goes a long way,” Moore said. “Today was truly a blessing. I have wanted to get all this done for months, but just the normal daily routine takes so much energy out of me.”
It was a nice change of scenery from the office for some and the chance to bond with the animals was one many Marines have missed since they enlisted.
“I’ve always liked dogs, so when I heard about this, I didn’t hesitate to volunteer. I miss having that interaction with them, since we’re not allowed to have pets in the barracks,” said Sgt. Ismael Rentas.
The Marines agreed the day was productive and were satisfied with their impact on the shelter and helping create a better environment for the animals.
“I like participating in things like this. It really shows the general public that we don’t just fight and win wars, but we also give back to the community that supports us,” said Cpl. Joshua Abuzaid.
“This chopped off a huge part of the iceberg,” said Moore. “I’m extremely grateful to everyone who came out to help today. I gladly welcome them back any time!”
Brodersen hopes to return to the rescue shelter on a monthly basis with volunteers from MarForPac to continue helping any way they can.
“I could tell that us being there and helping out encouraged Lanny to keep doing the great things he’s been doing,” said Brodersen.
For more information on Friends for Life or to volunteer, you can contact Moore at (808)696-3777 or visit www.friendsforlifehome.org.