Guam sailors help get school ship-shape
August 18, 2004
YIGO, Guam — Sailors from Helicopter Combat Support Squadron Five on Guam spent Saturday cutting grass, picking up trash, painting walls and cleaning classrooms at F. B. Leon Guerrero Middle School in Yigo, Guam.
They chose to spend their usual day off helping officials prepare for Tuesday’s first day of classes as part of the military’s Adopt-A-School program.
The squadron’s work is part of an ongoing involvement with the school.
“HC-5 is a true partner,” said Principal Kenneth Denusta. “They’ve been coming each year and cleaning our yard. They also help out with our tutoring program. And just before school ended last year, they brought in a helicopter as a static display. That was a big thrill for the students.”
Projects such as the school cleanup contribute to unit pride and help boost morale, said Cmdr. Michael Steinmann, HC-5 executive officer.
“It brings us a little closer as a family in the squadron, and we treat it as a family. We work together, and we play together.”
The project was part of the Navy-wide Community Service Flagship programs.
“Community relations is very important to the Navy,” said Lt. Jerome Gussow, HC-5 spokesman. “We’re so well received here in Guam, and I think doing stuff like this is the reason.”
As is common with most Guam activities, workers were treated to a lunch of barbecued chicken and ribs, red rice and other local delicacies. The food was donated by members of the school faculty and staff and by King’s Restaurant, which operates the school’s cafeteria.
Sylvia Taylor, a teacher at the school who’s married to an HC-5 chief warrant officer, Steve Taylor, organized lunch and much of the project.
“This really means a lot to us,” Taylor said. “The students will have a clean learning environment when they come to school.”
Petty Officer 1st Class Argentin Fils-Aime, originally from Haiti, said he feels a special obligation to help with projects involving school children.
“If we, as adults, don’t give them the means to be successful, they might resort to violence, crimes, drugs,” he said. “Anytime I can help out to give them a better environment for success, I do that as much as I can.”
“It’s a good way to get to know the community,” said Seaman Joshua Blair. “We might meet someone here at lunch that might become a good friend.”
And seeing sailors working at the school may inspire students to join the Navy, said Steinmann.
“Maybe they’ll even end up back here at HC-5,” he said.