Photo Information

Sgt. Jeremy Owens, an armored vehicle mechanic with California-based 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 1st Marine Division, punctures a hole in the earth to make way for the bases of a chain-linked fence as part of a project with the Windy City Habitat for Humanity in Chicago’s South Side.

Photo by Pfc. Lucas Vega

Building relationships, homes one brick at a time

14 May 2009 | Pfc. Lucas Vega

Looking out for the disadvantaged is something the Marine Corps and the Windy City Habitat for Humanity has in common.

Volunteers from 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, Calif., Marine Air Control Group 48 and 2nd Battallion, 24th Marine Regiment based in Chicago, teamed up with one of the city’s watchdogs for the needy to assist with building two homes on the South side.

The Windy City Habitat for Humanity mission is to work with people from all walks of life to build simple, affordable housing while strengthening families and neighborhoods.

Painting walls, sanding surfaces for tile and digging holes for the bases of chain-linked fences were just a few of the improvements made to the houses by the Marines giving back to the community.

“It’s a morale builder,” said Maj. Guillermo Rosales, operations officer of 2nd Bn. 24th Marines. “It gives Marines a chance to validate everything they do in the field and replicate it in the community.”

Like Rosales, Chicago native Cpl. Joseph Vaccaro, a warehouse clerk with 2nd Bn., 24th Marines, was raised only a few blocks away from the event.

“It’s cool to work close to home,” said Vaccaro, who returned from a seven-month deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in August 2008. “I initially had no idea I’d be working in my own community.”

Habitat for Humanity’s group supervisor, Leon Metcalf, was present to oversee the operation.

Metcalf said he was impressed by the Marines’ work ethic and was surprised on how the Marines finished the project in half the time projected.

“The Marines came out strong and haven’t stopped all day.” he said. “They came out and they are working hard; they get straight to the point.”

Metcalf said he learned a lot from the Marines and shared what he thought about the volunteers giving their time to help out within the community.

“I love seeing the Marines out in the community,” he said. “I’m looking forward to seeing Marines coming back again.”
The volunteer event was part of Marine Week Chicago.

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