MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Marines consider community service a point of pride, and one way squadrons across Cherry Point carry on the time-honored tradition of community involvement is through Adopt-a-School programs.
On Jan. 23, Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 2 joined that prestigious list when Lt. Col. Alan Solter, the squadron commanding officer, co-signed the squadron’s first Adopt-a-School partnership agreement at Creekside Elementary School in New Bern.
Under the terms of the agreement, MWHS-2 Marines and Sailors will provide mentorship and support to the primary school students regularly, said 2nd Lt. Kyle R. Mirabelli, the volunteer program coordinator.
“It is the command’s responsibility to help develop our Marines and show them how important it is to get involved with the community,” he said.
Mirabelli said he feels that the spirit of community service is something that will stay with the volunteers for the rest of their lives.
“Whether our service members decide to stay in the service for 20 or 30 years or get out and go into civilian careers, it is important they keep the public servant mentality,” said Mirabelli. “In or out of uniform, it is up to Marines and Marine veterans to make a difference wherever we go.”
Even though the program is in its beginning stages, it has impacted nearly every rank in the unit, including junior Marines like Pfc. Kenneth R. Murray, an administration clerk with MWHS-2, who recently joined the unit.
Murray was inspired to volunteer by his niece and nephew. He said he wants to give back and help other children their age since he cannot see them as often as he’d like.
This is not the first volunteer gig for Murray since he arrived to Cherry Point several weeks ago. He has already dedicated a portion of his off-duty time volunteering at a local animal shelter.
“Knowing that I’m giving back is a great feeling,” said Murray. “There is no better feeling than knowing that I’m giving back.”
The support squadron prides itself on the good works of its service members, said Mirabelli.
“We have so many Marines who go out and do good things,” he said. “They don’t just volunteer at schools, they go out into the community and support local organizations and charities.”
Everyone in the program is excited about the new partnership, said Mirabelli.
“The kids really care about our military,” he said. “They ask if we receive the letters they write us. They are eager to have us around.”
In the future, MWHS-2 and Creekside Elementary School will team up to conduct presidential fitness tests, field meets and a yellow brick road run.