SHACKLEFORD BANKS ISLAND, N.C. -- Over time the beaches of Shackleford Banks Island can gather debris. Instead of leaving the island polluted, Marines with 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment; 2nd Radio Battalion; 2nd Law Enforcement Battalion and 2nd Marine Logistics Group chose to make a difference by volunteering to restore the island’s natural beauty during a beach clean-up, April 21, 2016.
Shackleford Banks Island is the home to over 100 wild horses that attract droves of tourists every year, but with tourists comes pollution and debris left on the shores of the island’s beaches.
Gunnery Sgt. Bernard Snyder, the communications chief for 2nd LEB, had recently taken a trip with his family to see the Shackleford Banks Island and was bothered by the amount of pollution he saw.
Snyder was able to set up a volunteer opportunity for the Marines in his command and other Marines interested in helping their community.
“I started making phone calls and sending e-mails, to put the event into motion,” Snyder said.
Lance Cpl. Rachel Perkins, a linguist with 2nd Radio Battalion and the Single Marine Program representative for her unit, volunteered for the event. “If I’m going to tell Marines they should volunteer for these events it is better for me to have already done it or do it with them. To lead by example,” said Perkins.
Working in cooperation with the SMP and the National Park Service, the Marines were bused from Camp Lejeune to Harker’s Island and took a ferry to Shackleford. There, the park service dropped groups of Marines off on various parts the island.
The Marines filled over ten trash bags with Styrofoam, plastic bottles, broken glass and food containers along with parts of broken docks, signs and fences. Most of the debris comes from strong winds and storms or hurricanes.
The Marines plan to put together another clean up late this year, involving more Marines to create a bigger impact.
“This will build you up as a Marine and as a person,” Perkins said. “You just to have to go out there and help and just give back.”