By Steven L. Shepard, Presidio of Monterey Public AffairsFebruary 11, 2015
PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. -- More than 200 service member volunteers from the Monterey area are expected to assist a local non-profit in keeping things environmentally friendly at this year's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament.
Kristin Cushman, Zero Waste Coordinator with the Monterey-based non-profit The Offset Project, said they were able to divert 93 percent of materials such as trash, wood and carpet away from landfills for the tournament in 2014.
According to The Offset Project website, the program works with individuals, municipalities, businesses and special events to establish sound waste policies and implement best practices in environmental stewardship.
Cushman said the volunteers help in tasks such as setting up the trash and recycling infrastructure on tournament grounds; monitoring, removing, and replacing trash and recycling during the event; and tearing down and storing the materials afterwards. She estimated they had about 240 service member volunteers over a ten-day period last year and expects around the same for 2015.
"The military has been involved with our program for the last 20-15 years and their volunteers are instrumental in helping us get our projects done," Cushman said. "It has been great working with them, they have amazing attitudes and work ethic."
One of those helping with the setup during the tournament's practice rounds day on Feb. 9 was Navy Lt. Cmdr. Keith Littrell, a faculty member at the Naval Postgraduate School. This was his third year as a volunteer with the program.
"This was a great chance to come out and enjoy a beautiful day on the golf course and see some professional golfers and celebrities and enjoy the scenery, while helping with a good cause," Littrell said. "Volunteer service and the military go hand in hand. It is a great opportunity for those at NPS and [Defense Language Institute] and the other military facilities around the Monterey Peninsula to enjoy the area but also to give back and let people see their nation's military out and helping around the community."
Service members from the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center will continue to be volunteering throughout the tournament in a multiple capacities such as manning concession stands and helping remove structures after the tournament concludes. Additionally, an honorary joint-service pin detail will be at Pebble Beach's hole-15 green, adjacent to the Support Our Troops hospitality tent, to render honors to a hole-pin adorned with the U.S. flag for the final three days of the tournament.
DLIFLC service members had contributed more than 13,000 volunteer hours at 65 local events for the 2014 fiscal year.