By Spc. Amie J. McMillan, 42nd Military Police Brigade Public Affairs
Soldiers from the Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC), 42nd Military Police Brigade, 508th Military Police Battalion, and 571st Military Police Company Rear Detachment joined together in the town of Steilacoom to help improve the community Oct. 23 in observance of National Make a Difference Day.
The rain did not stop these Soldiers from accomplishing their mission – to rebuild the 5th Street Waterway pedestrian bridge and create a jogging path for community members to enjoy in Steilacoom, as well as rebuild a deck, ramps and railings, replace the wood on the bench and picnic table, spread gravel along the walkway, and put a new wood exterior on the trash containers in Webber Court Park. As it poured, they picked up shovels, rakes, hammers and other tools, and began to work.
“This was an opportunity to get to know the people who help us and vice versa. Developing relations and keeping them alive is a good way to keep the community alive,” said Spc. Elida Parra, HHC 42nd MP Bde.
“I went home at the end of the day knowing I helped a community who never hesitates to help its military community,” said Sgt. 1st Class Brian Stuckey, 508th MP Battalion.
“The annual projects are great for the community and just as important for the unit to come together and work as a team just as we do on a daily basis, but in the community instead of the workplace,” he added.
National Make a Difference Day was created by USA Weekend Magazine and is an annual event that takes place on the fourth Saturday of every October. In 2008, about three million people volunteered to help with projects throughout their communities.
“I really enjoyed the opportunity to get out of the office, out of the norm. It felt really good to be able to help out the community of Steilacoom and seeing people use the trail before we were even finished was definitely a plus,” said Master Sgt. Norma De Alcala, HHC 42nd MP Bde.
After five hours of sweat and hard work, the bridge was rebuilt and safe for people to utilize, and the jogging trail was already being used by someone walking their dog. The project at Webber Court Park took about eight hours to complete, but the finishing product was rewarding to those Soldiers who volunteered to help. The town of Steilacoom can now enjoy the park with the pleasure of knowing their military friends wanted to lend a hand to improve their community.