WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii - Before a servicemember is sworn in to the military, they must undergo an array of tests to include a hearing test to prove that their physical attributes are up to standard.

For students at local Mililani elementary schools, the hearing tests they are undergoing are not for enlistment into the military, but to identify signs of hearing loss early in childhood.

Due to lack of funds, from 1995 to the end of 2007, the schools had to cancel the program. In 2008, with no funds from the state, the Mililani Lions Club (MLC) voluntarily started the hearing tests again. Soldiers of the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) also began to assist in a partnership with the schools and MLC.

"The Hearing Screening Program for School-Aged Children is a signature project for the Lions Club and the state of Hawaii," said Shannon Ching, an audiologist with the Waikiki 2000 Lions. "We mostly cover the Mililani area, but we are trying to increase the number of schools covered."

In 2009, CAB Soldiers volunteered to assist the MLC with screening local Mililani elementary school children.

"It's good to give back to the community," said Spc. Nicholas Thompson, intelligence analyst, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 25th CAB. "This is my first time volunteering. No doubt, I would be more than happy to volunteer again."

The goal of the test is to identify school-aged children most likely to have hearing impairments that may interfere with education, health or communication. The MLC's target population is students from first to third grade.

The program helps check out children who may be at risk for hearing loss, said Norma Tansey, the Parent Community Network Center Facilitator for Mililani Uka Elementary School.

"This is the first time I have seen the military help out," said Tansey. "I just enjoy the reaction of the students to the [Soldiers]. It helps them not to be afraid of the military."

The audio tests were a success with the aid of the CAB Soldiers, according to Ching.
"We had good cooperation from the [25th CAB] during the audio testing," said Ching. "The community supports the program and allows us to come back to continue the audio tests."

With the success of this event, the CAB continues to show their support and concern for the local communities.

"Every chance you get to help out the community, take it," said Thompson. "This is a great way to help out with something that is bigger than yourself."