By Justin Creech, Belvoir EagleMay 1, 2014
Representatives from the Fort Belvoir Garrison Command team, the installation Marine Corps Detachment, servicemembers at Fort Belvoir and local community members joined the Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce in the annual Route 1 Cleanup Saturday.
The goal of the event is to build camaraderie among military and civilian community members while cleaning up Route 1 in the process, according to Jacqueline Leeker, Fort Belvoir Garrison Public Affairs office, community relations chief.
"It's good to volunteer to make the community a better place," said Holly Hicks Dougherty, executive director, Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce. "All these people, the work they do, gives them a better connection to the community. If you help clean it, you are not going to do anything to make it dirty."
Dougherty has led the Route 1 Cleanup the last 12 years and likes the message that Fort Belvoir's involvement says to the civilian members of the community.
"It says they have an investment in the community even though they aren't going to be here permanently," said Dougherty. "It shows that they care about the community."
Community groups coming together for a good cause will help the community be successful in the future, according to Lt. Col. Brian P. Zarchin, Fort Belvoir Garrison Headquarters Battalion commander.
Zarchin quoted legendary Green Bay Packers coach, Vince Lombardi to illustrate his point.
"Lombardi said, 'People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society,'" Zarchin quoted.
Cleaning up the community and hanging out with friends is why Marine Sergeants Doug Watson and Nicholas Goodman, Fort Belvoir Marine Corps Detachment participated in the cleanup, according to Watson.
"It doesn't take much to get us to come out and support the community," said Watson. "We get to meet new faces and spend some time with our friends. Plus, it obviously leaves a little less trash on the highway."
The message to local community members that servicemembers care about the community's well-being is an important part of the clean up, according to Watson.
"Everywhere you go in the military there's going to be someone who doesn't want you in their area," Watson said. "So, this event says we aren't that bad and we are here to help and not overtake the community."
A Marine Corps saying is also why Watson and Goodman joined the effort on Saturday, according to Goodman.
"Just because it was trashy when we got there doesn't mean we leave it that way," said Goodman. "So, when we go somewhere, we want to try to make it look better than when we got there."
Creating a better sense of community well-being is another benefit of the clean up, according to Dougherty.
"Just clean the roads," said Dougherty. "I think it gives all of us a better sense of investment in what goes on in the community."