By Molly Haden, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, Public AffairsMarch 13, 2009
WAIANAE, Hawaii Aca,!" More than 30, 1-ton bags lay jam-packed with debris that once littered the beaches at the Pililaau Army Recreation Center (PARC) here, due to the clean up efforts of Soldiers and local high school students, March 6.
Aca,!A"This place was a mess,Aca,!A? said Master Sgt. Haines Rego, Waianae High School Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) leader, explaining how recent storms left the beaches less than presentable.
The collection of driftwood, leaves, nuts, bottle caps, plastic bags and various other trash items was enough to fill two dumpsters.
Aca,!A"The cadets really care about their beaches and wanted to help with the process of making the beach beautiful again for visiting guests to enjoy,Aca,!A? said Rego.
For Master Sgt. John Keawe, 1101st Garrison Support Unit, the need to clean up the beach hit closer to home.
Aca,!A"This is my town, my beach,Aca,!A? said Keawe. Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs all about helping out the community.Aca,!A?
The clean up was a result of volunteer efforts between Soldiers and Waianae High School JROTC cadets.
More than 20 cadets gathered on the east side of PARC and more than 30 Soldiers began raking the sand on the west side. Their goal was to meet in the middle.
Aca,!A"There is a lot of potential with a workforce like this,Aca,!A? said Staff Sgt. Frankie Salas, noncommissioned officer in charge (NCOIC), Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii. Aca,!A"The cadets can look at us as role models and talk to Soldiers openly about the life of service, and we have a chance to mentor them.
Aca,!A"The teamwork is great. Everyone is working hard out here for a common purpose,Aca,!A? added Salas.
Cadets and Soldiers worked for more than five hours, raking the beach, picking up every bit of debris and filling bag after bag.
The sun continued to shine throughout the day and a soft breeze from the ocean kept the volunteers cool.
Aca,!A"We have so many Soldiers returning from downrange and coming here for R & R,Aca,!A? said Salas. Aca,!A"So, we all have a special interest in this beach and want it to be clean and ready for our fellow Soldiers and their families.Aca,!A?
PARC, located at Pokai Bay just 18 miles from Schofield Barracks, sees more than 1,000 Soldiers and family members throughout the year.
From any of the 39 beachfront cabins, spectators can enjoy a pleasant view of the Leeward Coast. The gentle waves and white sand beaches delight swimmers, snorkelers and scuba enthusiasts daily.
Aca,!A"Everyone is happy when the beaches are more presentable,Aca,!A? said cadet Sgt. 1st Class Sami Latukefu. Aca,!A"We are doing this for the Soldiers who visit and for our town, to represent Waianae in a positive way.Aca,!A?
As the day ended, Soldiers and cadets displayed calloused hands, sand-covered bodies and smiles across their faces.
The beaches of Waianae change on a daily, seasonal and long-term basis, but always provide a warm welcome for the military ohana.
Aca,!A"The oceans and beaches are so important to us and our culture,Aca,!A? said cadet Lt. Hoku Matutino. Aca,!A"We are making a difference here today.Aca,!A?