The New England Center for Homeless Veterans received a helping hand as part of Marine Week Boston’s community outreach program this week.
With 900 Marines participating in events throughout the city this week, Marine veteran and president of the NECHV, Laurence D. Fitzmaurice, said he was happy this generation of war fighters took the opportunity to volunteer at the center.
“Having the Marines here in uniform gives our clients a renewed sense of self worth. It gives them the motivation to get on with their lives,” Fitzmaurice said. “The fact that Marines are out here, during the current conflict, willing to take their time to do this sort of thing makes these guys feel very good.”
The center, which offers shelter, clinical services and educational training to homeless veterans, currently spends more than $37 thousand per month in utilities. The Marines assisted the center’s staff in preparing the building for engineers to determine what can be done to reduce energy consumption.
Breaking into teams, squads of Marines from 3rd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, the Marines were able to tackle an array of projects that were waiting to be addressed but haven’t been accomplished within a restricted $6 million budget.
Each morning the group from Johnson City, Tenn., spent the day painting, buffing floors, setting up computer equipment and sorting through donations before taking an opportunity to sit down for lunch with veterans.
“I loved getting to know the veterans and trading war stories,” said Cpl. Robert Mabry of Franklin, Tenn. “I really appreciate that they paved the way for us, so this is one way to give back.”
Sharing Mabry’s sentiment, Lance Cpl Sean Staggs of Indianapolis said he’s glad the center provides assistance to veterans reminding them that America has not forgotten them.
Among the Marines that visited the center were four Boston natives that served food during Wednesday’s meal.
Charles Beal, a 53 year-old veteran that currently resides at the center, says the best part about the week in Boston is watching the American people interact with their Marines.
As Marine Week continues these Marines will go on to Quincy Market to display their arsenal and meet and greet with the public.
“I’m glad to be here,” said Sgt. Eddie Reece, a St. Louis, native. “It’s been a wonderful experience to come to a different city and interact with the people and let them see us in a different aspect than a 30 second news clip.”