Photo Information

Lance Cpl. Nathan Jones of 3rd Battalion, 24th Marines, Johnson City, Tenn., paints the front porch in an effort to help renovate the Robert J. Watson House, in Cambridge, Mass., in support of Marine Week Boston, May 6, 2010. Once Renovated, the Robert J. Watson House will be used as a shelter for troubled youth females.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Natasha J. Combs

Marines build bridges between communities, Corps

6 May 2010 | Lance Cpl. Sean Palmer

Marines with Company L, 3rd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment coming all the way from Johnson City, Tenn., teamed up with Boston Community Resources for Justice to rebuild two decaying houses in Cambridge and Boston, Mass., during Marine Week Boston, May 3-9.

The two houses the Marines were cleaning out and repairing were previously used for community outreach. The first Robert J. Watson house in Cambridge, Mass., was used to take care of troubled youth within the community and will be used specifically for troubled youth females in the future.

“Massachusetts is under sever constraints when it comes to donating money for these houses to be rebuilt and the Marines’ contribution with their volunteer work is a great help to getting the Watson house ready to help the youth of Boston again,” said John Rogers, director of facilities for Community Resources for Justice in Boston.

The second house that was restored by the Marines was the Brooke house in Boston. The Brooke house will be used as an adult pre-release facility once it is fully renovated.

“I think all landscaping, painting and rebuilding of these houses that the Marines are doing has a tremendous effect on the people of Boston. The work really shows that we’re out here putting effort into building a positive relationship with the Boston community and the Marine Corps,” said Staff Sgt. Brad Widener, a native of Savannah, Ga., and Infantry Unit Leader with Company L.

More than 40 Marines from Company L, an infantry reserve unit, gave something back to Boston by showing up early every morning during Marine Week to begin their work. They painted, replaced the dry ground with fresh soil, planted trees and cleaned debris out of the decrepit buildings.

“We’re used to doing a lot of community service related work in the reserves, so the Marines are great at helping out with the renovating of these buildings because it’s what we do on a regular basis when we’re back home in Johnson City,” said Staff Sgt. Daniel Berry, a 29-year-old Infantry Unit Leader with Company L.

After the Marines finished their scheduled work, they continued to find even more tasks they could complete, which showed Bostonians how proud the Marines were of the job they accomplished.

“The Marines exceeded my expectations in every way. They’re work went a long way and the fact that all the work was voluntary definitely helped promote the Marine Corps within the Boston community,” added Rogers.

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Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps