AIEA, Hawaii --
It was just another day at school, until the Marines arrived.
Six Marine volunteers with U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific shared their enthusiasm for physical fitness with the students at Aiea Elementary School, here March 8.
The Marines volunteered to help the school’s physical education teacher with her classes as part of MarForPac’s continuing community service efforts with local schools.
“The students are just like, ‘Oh my God, wow,’” said Nancy Phan, the school’s PE teacher. “They really look up to the military. I think it’s great that they came down and it’s a great opportunity to tie them closer to physical fitness and show them how important it is in their day-to-day lives.”
During the event, the Marines set up four stations, each with a different physical activity for the students to perform. The Marines coached and encouraged them while participating in the activities with the children.
“I know how important it is for kids to have positive role models,” said Gunnery Sgt. Ernesto Panalez, an intelligence analyst with MarForPac. “It’s a good experience. The kids are great and it’s been a lot of fun.”
Many of the Marines at the event also volunteered for Palisades Elementary School’s annual sports day Feb. 18 and plan to continue working with local schools to promote physical fitness and give back to the community.
“Athletics are important because it sets them up for success later in life,” said Lance Cpl. Kristopher Dietrich, a financial management analyst with Headquarters and Service Battalion, MarForPac. “I like working with the kids and community outreach is important. I’ll be volunteering as much as I can.”
Many of the students look forward to the Marines returning.
“The students are already asking, ‘Hey, are they coming back next week,’” Phan said. “We greatly admire the military for their community outreach and can’t wait for them to come back.”