Photo Information

Lance Cpl. Timothy R. James, 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, talks with Rhonda Harding, a local resident, while raking at Levin Park located in Chicago May 11, 2009. Marines are cleaning up parks as well as taking part in other community services and efforts as part of Marine Week being held in Chicago. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Seth Maggard/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Seth Maggard

Marines lend a helping hand

11 May 2009 | Cpl Erik Villagran

A handful of local and California-based Marines kicked off Marine Week Chicago with some good old fashioned manual labor with the cleanup of Levin Park here today.

 “I think cleaning the park is a great effort,” said Staff Sgt. Kevin T. Crown, 23, company gunnery sergeant, Headquarters and Service Company for the Chicago-based 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment. “It’s definitely going to better the community.”

The cleanup consisted of picking up trash, clearing large debris and adding mulch to the playground and trees.

“It’s going to look like a brand new park,” Crown said. “The families and kids around the park are going to get the most use out of it.”

Knowing they were helping the community fueled the Marines’ efforts throughout the day.

“The manual work we’re doing today isn’t bad at all,” said Sgt. Wayne E. Dones, a 27-year-old heavy equipment mechanic, assigned to the Camp Pendleton, Calif.-based 11th Marine Regiment. “The work we’re doing is going to show people that you can be in the Marine Corps and be more than just a war fighter. It’s a good way for people to view the Marine Corps in a different eye.”

People in the neighborhood noticed the Marines working shortly after they started and wanted photos with kids who were hanging around the park. Several members from the community stopped by to see what was going on at the park.

“I saw them outside working and I figured I’d walk over and see what they were doing,” said Rhonda Harding, a 47-year-old from Chicago. “I am grateful they came out to keep the park clean.”

Sergeant Marcos Moreno, a Chicago native was ecstatic with how the event went and people’s reaction.

“They saw us in our uniform, so they’ll know we’re making a difference,” said Moreno, an electro optics ordnance technician with 11th Marine Regiment. “There aren’t any Marine Corps bases anywhere near by so it felt good to display the Marine Corps to the Midwest.”

The Marines are scheduled to do a cleanup at Riis Park tomorrow morning.

Marine Corps News

Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps