Marine Corps Base Hawaii -- Service members and workers with Marine Corps Community Services Hawaii gathered for the Front Porch event, April 15, 2015, at Dewey Square aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii.
The purpose of the Front Porch event was to help raise awareness about Marine & Family Programs while, at the same time, promoting cohesion within the community and holding a fundraiser to help reduce ticket costs for the units’ annual Marine Corps birthday balls.
“This event (provided service members) opportunities to volunteer and the good in that goes both ways,” said Estella Euclide, a program specialist with Marine & Family Programs. “The organizations end up with volunteers, which helps them and our community, and the Marines or Sailors get volunteer hours while giving back to
Euclide said this experience is something the service members may pass down through their co-workers or families, teaching them it’s okay to help and give back. She said the event was also a way to meet new people and form a sense of community.
“This was an opportunity to give family members a chance to network if they didn’t already have a venue for that,” Euclide said. “They’re on an island, and a lot of these families are young, so they need support from each other, not just what we can do for them on base.”
The event also provides service members a chance to get out and do something different, said 1st Sgt. Jody Armentrout, the company first sergeant for Headquarters Company, Headquarters Battalion.
“I think the greatest thing about this event is having the Marines come out, communicate and get to know each other,” Armentrout said. “Marines may see (each other) out around base and be able to talk, all because of this one event. This is (also) important because it promotes base and unit cohesion, help(s) families get to know one another, as well as the key personnel and leadership within the command.”
Armentrout said a basewide event such as this provides a sense of community and that’s what the base is all about. He said MCB Hawaii isn’t just a military base, but a military community whose inhabitants enjoy helping one another.
“Today I could see how this event affected (base) morale in a positive way,” Euclide said. “Service members could see they were able to do something, not just for themselves, but for their unit. They might’ve been off work early, but they were still working, doing things for their command, and you could see they really took pride in that.”
Coming into this, expectations were high, Armentrout said. He said he wanted the Marines to come out, be involved and have a good turnout — to which he was not disappointed.
“I’ve seen a lot of Marines out here having a good time with their families and that’s what’s important,” Armentrout said. “It’s things like this that will make us, as a Marine Corps, tighter and I absolutely hope this continues in the future. To have an event that involves community relations and volunteerism, as well as having all our military life programs and the Marines they directly impact in one area is a great thing. I think everyone is doing an outstanding job and we are very privileged to have these resources available to us. It’s tremendous and I don’t think we could ask for anything more, now we just need to use them effectively and get involved in the community.”
Col. Eric W. Schaefer, the commanding officer for MCB Hawaii, said whether it’s inside or outside the base, the service members and surrounding community are all one family.
“I hope somewhere in the future there is never a thought of ‘us’ or ‘them,’ because it’s not just about the Marine Corps or Kaneohe or Kailua,” Schaefer said. “It’s about all of us.”
Schaefer said it’s important to remember Marines are still citizens of this nation, just as members of the community are also citizens of this nation.
“We are all in this together,” Schaefer said. “The mere fact that we have hundreds of people and dozens of volunteer organizations all together means we’ve met success. This has far exceeded any expectations I had and I am so proud of everyone who put in work to make this happen. It warms my heart when people get to come like this as one community, one ohana.”