Stingers set aim to community service

Stingers set aim to community service

LtCol Willie Stansell, the commanding officder of Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31 and Maj. Meghan Kennerly, MALS-31 executive officer, help sort through donated clothes at HELP of Beaufort, Dec. 27, 2013. More than 40 Marines with MALS-31 gave their time and assistance to four non-profit groups in Beaufort. Marines volunteered at Red Door Thrift Store, HELP of Beaufort, CAPA's Closet and the Beaufort County Animal Shelter. Photo by Cpl Sarah Cherry.

Beaufort, S.C. (Jan. 21, 2014) - More than 40 Marines with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31 gave their time and assistance to four non-profit groups in Beaufort, Dec. 27, 2013.

Marines volunteered at Red Door Thrift Store, HELP of Beaufort, CAPA's Closet and the Beaufort County Animal Shelter.

At Red Door thrift store, Marines moved donated goods and cleaned the floors. Red Door thrift store supports Friends of Caroline Hospice, an organization dedicated to providing home care and volunteer services to people with life-threatening illness.

At HELP of Beaufort, which provides financial and family assistance, Marines helped sort and reorganize donated goods.

They also volunteered at CAPA's Closet, which runs a shelter and supports the Child Abuse Prevention Association. CAPA provides community education outreach programs focused on preventing and intervening in child abuse.

Beaufort County Animal Shelter also had Marines volunteering, providing animals with basic care.

Non-profit community-based organizations provide many services to Beaufort, from feeding and clothing the needy to housing stray or orphaned animals.

These organizations have many tasks. Sorting clothes, loading and unloading furniture, organizing food by expiration date and caring for animals, among other tasks, are time and labor intensive.

For some Marines, the opportunity opened their eyes to the challenges Beaufort faces.

"The benefit that I got was learning about the challenges that the Beaufort Humane Society has" said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joy Craig, who volunteered at the Beaufort County Animal Shelter. "They have a lot of work, and not a lot of resources to get it done. Volunteering made me want to help more."

Craig plans to continue helping at the animal shelter in the future. Beyond educating Marines on the Beaufort community, volunteering helps Marines become more thoroughly involved and entrenched in Beaufort.

"Community service is so important because it puts you into the community," said Steve Cur-less, president of HELP of Beaufort. "You live here, you work here, and you're a part of this community. [Volunteering] makes you more a part of the community, and I think that's important no matter where you live, no matter where you get transferred - to be a part of the community and get to know the people in town."

For MALS-31 Marines, the trend of volunteering will continue to grow as the squadron plans to have volunteering events in the future and take on adopting part of downtown Beaufort.

"The MALS Marines have set themselves apart in many venues. They've proved that they are the total package" said LtCol Willie Stansell, commanding officer of MALS-31.

"This is just one more venue that we can broaden our horizons by giving back to the community."

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