Company marches to help homeless children
July 28, 2014
By Staff report
WAHIAWA, Hawaii -- Seven members of Delta Company, 53rd Signal Battalion marched 20 miles July 4 to raise more than $2,000 for Project Hawaii in support of homeless youth on the island of Oahu.
The team was led by Chief Petty Officer Shane Moss, Austrailian Defence Force senior enlisted member, and 1st Lt. Courtney Richards, D Company executive officer, and comprised Sgt. Mark Proctor, Sgt. Patrick Potts-Szoke, Spc. Joseph Meyers, Pfc. Jim Mullaney and Ben Lee. Richards and Lee provided a safety vehicle throughout the event in case of an incident.
The company, located in Wahiawa on Oahu, became aware of impoverished conditions of homeless children on the west coast of Hawaii in May. The West coast of Oahu, primarily the Waianae region, consists of a 20-mile length of the Farrington Highway, where the sea meets sheer mountain faces and sparsely pocketed housing. Dotted along the coastline are tent cities, makeshift structures and abandoned vehicles; where approximately 20,000 homeless people take shelter.
"I was disturbed by the severity of the conditions of homeless youth in the region," said Moss, a father of five. "After exploring requirements and assessing the risks, we commenced training with the help of 1st Lt. Richards. My aim is to heighten awareness of homeless youth in Hawaii; and assist in support of providing food, health and education services.
"I chose July 4 as the day of the march to capitalize on the symbolism of hope, freedom and liberty," continued Moss, who is completing a three-year tenure with the U.S. Army as a cooperative project person to the Wide-Band Global Satellite Memorandum of Understanding between the governments of the United States and Australia. "The length of the march symbolizes the length of the Waianae coast, and the weight to be carried by each member, about 45 pounds, symbolizes the average weight of a healthy 7 year old. We conducted the march from midnight to sunrise to symbolize a new day."
Project Hawaii, a not-for-profit organization in the Waianae area and also on the "Big Island" of Hawaii, aims to break the poverty cycle of affected children and offer hope through support programs, medical and hygiene assistance, and in the provision of education services. The organization is completely reliant on charity, fund-raising and donations from the public. Project Hawaii completes back-to-school programs; provides assistance in the form of food and clothing; and also hosts summer camps and teen mentoring programs.
"I am overjoyed by Delta Company's efforts," said Magin Patrick, Project Hawaii's director. "I proudly informed children and their families of what had occurred. "
A total of $2,040 was raised for the organization mainly through campaigning within the company and with the help of social media. The check was presented to Project Hawaii July 7 by Moss, Richards and Potts-Szoke.
The effort is commensurate with other fundraising activities conducted by the company, who regularly raise money to provide a positive impact on the community. Other notable efforts to support Army Community Services events include: assisting elementary schools; engaging with USO Hawaii; fundraising for the Walk for Autism; and, for the Women's sex abuse treatment center -- a Sexual Harassment and Awareness Response Program initiative. Family Readiness Group fund-raising activities to support the families of Soldiers, sailors and airmen of the company are also regularly held and realize a completely integrated team.