Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Respone Africa serves a different purpose

Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Respone Africa serves a different purpose

Marines and sailors with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa Detachment A, set and level out a pole to make a fence at the Giovanni XXIII Institute in Riposto, Italy, Aug. 13, 2015. The fence was needed to improve safety around the property's sloping landscape for residents who have special needs. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl Olivia McDonald.

NAVAL AIR STATION SIGONELLA, Italy (August 13, 2015) - Marines and sailors with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa Detachment A, volunteered their time at the Giovanni XXIII Institute in Riposto, Italy, Aug. 13, 2015.

The Marines and sailors spent the day cleaning up the property and making it safer for its residents. Specializing in assisting special-needs adults in and around the community, the institute has been operating for more than 40 years.

"We went out and put up posts for a fence and filled it with concrete for support while others went out and weed-whacked the entire field and little playground area," said LCpl Jesse Cheadle, a combat engineer with SPMAGTF-CR-AF Det. A and Logan, Ohio, native.

The monastery owns a lot of land consisting of open fields, gardens and chicken coops the residents tend to. There are large open spaces and greenery to enjoy, now made safer by the help of the Marines and sailors.

"It is new for me to have American people helping us here," said Alessandro Coco, the director of activities for the day, as he expressed his sentiments toward U.S. military members taking time out of their busy schedules to help the Sicilian community.

The Marines and sailors didn't waste any time after arriving. After Coco showed the volunteers his vision, they immediately went to work cutting grass, mixing cement and setting posts. In just a few hours, the Marines and sailors completed the work, leaving time for them to eat lunch and view artwork the residents created.

The fence will now allow more freedom of movement around the grounds of the Institute that has areas of unsafe steep declines and no longer has the fire hazard of overgrown fields.

"I like getting my hands dirty and it makes me happy helping other people," said Cheadle. "Any time I can help and assist the Sicilian community, I am here to help."

Coco was amazed by not just how fast the Marines and sailors completed the job, but at the quality of their work. He said he likes the idea that the Marines are always looking for opportunities to help the community outside the NAS Sigonella gates. He is looking forward to the opportunity to see the Marines again.

While SPMAGTF-CR-AF Det A is strategically positioned at NAS Sigonella to stage and prepare for theater security cooperation missions and crisis response in Africa, Marines and sailors continue to build on previous units' efforts in Sicily to further solidify a strong partnership between the U.S. and its Italian friends.

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