Camp Zama BOSS Soldiers volunteer to beautify local park
A member of Camp Zama’s BOSS program, center, pulls weeds in a flowerbed June 8 at Yatoyama Park near Camp Zama, Japan, alongside local volunteer members. (Photo Credit: Noriko Kudo) VIEW ORIGINAL

CAMP ZAMA, Japan – Ten members from Camp Zama’s Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program, or BOSS, joined a local senior volunteer team to help pull weeds and cultivate the soil for flower planting June 8 at Yatoyama Park near the installation.

Sgt. Yezre’el Askew, assigned to the U.S. Army Band Japan and the BOSS vice president, said he really enjoyed getting to volunteer for the first time with the program, and felt their efforts did a lot to help out the Japanese community.

Camp Zama BOSS Soldiers volunteer to beautify local park
Sgt. Yezre’el Askew, assigned to the U.S. Army Band Japan and vice president of Camp Zama’s Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program, tills the soil in a flowerbed June 8 at Yatoyama Park near Camp Zama, Japan. Ten BOSS Soldiers were at the park to help pull weeds and cultivate the soil for flower planting. (Photo Credit: Noriko Kudo) VIEW ORIGINAL

When he first saw the area they’d be working on, Askew said it seemed like a lot needed to be done. But with both the BOSS members and the volunteer team working together, they were able to finish quickly and with great results, he said.

“I’m very proud to have worked with the Japanese community to get this done,” Askew said.

The BOSS program participates in volunteer activities on a monthly basis. Askew said this helps to build a sense of cooperation and familiarity with the local community, and gets everyone more accustomed to working together.

“I look forward to cooperating more in the future,” Askew said.

Camp Zama BOSS Soldiers volunteer to beautify local park
U.S. Army Garrison Japan Command Sgt. Maj Justin Turner tills the soil in a flowerbed June 8 at Yatoyama Park near Camp Zama, Japan. Turner joined 10 members of Camp Zama’s Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program, or BOSS, at the park to help pull weeds and cultivate the soil for flower planting. (Photo Credit: Noriko Kudo) VIEW ORIGINAL

U.S. Army Garrison Japan Command Sgt. Maj Justin Turner, who joined the volunteer effort, said the Soldiers he worked alongside displayed qualities of professionalism, hard work and selfless service.

“I’m extremely proud of our BOSS members; they represented our U.S. Army extremely well,” Turner said. “I’m happy that I could be a part of this community event.

“Volunteering is living the Army Value of ‘Selfless Service’ because you are donating your most precious asset—your time,” Turner added. “And that shows the community that you care. Helping out with even the smallest task can make a big impact in the lives of neighboring community members and organizations in need.”

Camp Zama BOSS Soldiers volunteer to beautify local park
Members of Camp Zama’s Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program, or BOSS, pose for a group photo with a local volunteer team June 8 at Yatoyama Park near Camp Zama, Japan, after working together there to help pull weeds and cultivate the soil for flower planting. (Photo Credit: Noriko Kudo) VIEW ORIGINAL

Hitoshi Tsutsumi, who has regularly volunteered at the park for 30 years, said he appreciated the time, effort and teamwork of the Soldiers. Their contribution was particularly helpful on this occasion because of the usual number of senior volunteer members who come out, only a third of them were available that day.

Tsutsumi said he has sensed a growing camaraderie with the Soldiers by regularly working side by side with them.

“The Soldiers were very hard workers and finished all the work in half the time we estimated.” Tsutsumi said. “We need them back next week again.”