Marines, Sailors help beautify local middle school

Marines, Sailors help beautify local middle school

A Marine throws refuse away while cleaning up Benavente Middle School Dec. 14 in Dededo, Guam. Service members and students worked together cleaning and painting the school as part of an Island-wide Beautification Task Force project. Photo by LCpl Alissa Schuning.

DEDEDO, Guam (Dec. 15, 2013) – Marines and sailors visited the Benavente Middle School in Dededo, Guam Dec. 14 to help out as part of a Island-wide Beautification Task Force project.

The participating service members worked side-by-side with students painting and clearing out rooms. This is keeping with the ITFB mission to enhance and restore the beauty of Guam as well as improve public awareness and civic pride, promote involvement and coordination of services, in the pursuit of further beautification of the scenic and historic sites of Guam.

The service members are here participating in Exercise Forager Fury II, which allows Marine Aircraft Group 12 to improve aviation combat readiness and will simulate operations in a deployed, expeditionary environment.

"FFII has probably been the most busy time during our six month deployment, but things like cleaning up the school are important," said LCpl Phetsalah Phansiri, ejection seat mechanic with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 112, Marine Aircraft Group 41 is currently assigned to MAG-12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, under the unit deployment program.

While their purpose is training and readiness, they are also committed to building local relationships and respecting the local community.

"We are in dire need of help here," said Dexter Fullo, principal of Benavente Middle School. "We have very little funds and a lot of challenges, so we need as much help as we can get."

The Marines were more than happy to spend their day off making the school better for the students.

"The opportunity to come here and try to better this school for these kids is rare and I am more than happy to do it," said Phansiri. "It may be my day off, but it's a day well spent."

The Marines and sailors came in full force to get the work done. They were given task after task and completed each one in the quick and efficient manner that comes with military discipline.

"I was extremely impressed with how proficient they were," said Fullo. "A task that would usually take a whole day to complete with our crew they did in 30 minutes. We had to keep finding more work that needed to be done around the school because they would finish each task so quickly."

Service members are planning to make another trip to Benavente Middle School, Dec. 17, to provide more mentorship to the students and give them more positive role models to inspire them to become successful later in life, according to Fullo.

"The Marines and sailors were mixed with our students to provide mentoring along the way," said Fullo. "It's not just bettering the building, they are touching the students' lives as well."

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