A detachment of about 40 MPs from Ft. Lewis arrived early morning on Oct. 26 in Steilacoom. Some reported to Saltar’s Point Beach, some to Pioneer Orchard Park, others around the town. The 42nd MP Brigade is the town’s “community connector group” from Ft. Lewis.
Taking part in “Make a Difference Day 2006”. The day’s projects ranged from a bandstand rebuild to vegetation removal at the beach and litter pickup.
Armed with a power drill and lots of nails Spec. Krista McCluskey “from southern Louisiana, ma’am” pitched in on the bandstand-rebuilding project. Recently returned from deployment to Iraq where, she explained, working with the Iraqi police was “challenging,” she says she found the Steilacoom assignment a “pleasant” change.
The young MP who bears a slight resemblance to BBC Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers (Inspector Lynley series) said she began learning about building when she was 11. She helped her grandfather build a deck at his home. “It’s still there,” she added.
The bandstand project was easy compared with two churches she helped build &one in Baton Rouge, the other at Lottie-both in Louisiana. She was just one of many youth volunteers who worked on the church construction projects.
Spec. Joseph Del Barrio from California was among a crew of about half a dozen bandstand builders who worked along with Steilacoom Public Works employees Frank Bonner and Steve Shepherd.
Shepherd said that about 180 TREX boards were placed on the bandstand that was originally built in the late 1980s. The bandstand was named in honor of former mayor Bob Anderson.
Although Del Barrio hadn’t attended any of the town’s concerts this past season, he said that he, his wife and their 16-month-old daughter “enjoyed nearby Sunnyside Beach.”
At Saltar’s Point Beach a larger crew attached and removed overgrown vegetation, hauling it from the beach up to a Dumpster placed at the top of the stairway.
Starbuck’s of DuPont provided coffee for the hungry workers said Town Administrator Paul Loveless. The Town provided donuts, while Subway on Steilacoom Blvd provided sandwiches.
Last year’ the MP Brigade repaired Charlie’s Park. Several years ago, a crew repainted the Steilacoom Historical School District office.
Despite the cool overcast day for the project, everyone was grateful that the weather was dry.
Submitted by Nancy Covert