Barracks Cleans Up DC

14 Oct 2000 | Cpl. Chad C. Adams

Heels struck the deck in a booming, rhythmic wave as people stared with wonder at the formation rumbling down their street. All eyes were on the mass of wood, plastic and steel carried by the men in green. However, this time, rifles weren't carried.More than 40 Marines teamed up with 30 civilians from local businesses and the residential area for the annual 8th Street Cleanup recently. This fall's Earth Day Partnership effort brought the military and local communities together to clean up 8th Street, Eastern Market Metro plaza and the surrounding side streets."We are out here to beautify the streetscape, pick up litter and help out the small businesses," said Christine McCoy, event coordinator.Marines traded their M-1 Garand rifles, along with a Saturday morning, for shovels, brooms, rakes and spades. All of the volunteers got their hands dirty pulling weeds, picking up trash, sweeping streets and laying mulch in tree boxes during the one-day event. Although Marines gave up part of their hard-earned weekend, many left the streets with a good feeling and a sense of accomplishment at doing something positive for the local community, an act that helps to bring a sense of belonging to both sides of the historic walls. "It shows them that we're willing to help them," said Lance Cpl. Peter Q. Gary, Headquarters & Service Company, Grounds. "We care about the neighborhood." This year's participation marked the second year in a row that Marine Barracks personnel have participated in the event, part of a continual effort of cooperation and participation with many different facets of the local community."Many of the Marines here try to get out and help the local community as much as they can," said Cpl. Daniel S. Steakin, H&S Company, administration clerk. "It makes you feel good when you see a kid's face or talk to the adults; it's all worthwhile when people know you're helping them."These efforts aren't going unnoticed as many members of this community understand and appreciate the commitment made by their Marine Corps neighbors."I think it's important to help develop a sense of community," McCoy said. "It's important that the Marines understand that the community appreciates their support."