Washington D.C. --
As a young boy Cpl. Christopher Winkler took several mission trips to South America with his church’s youth group, to help build houses for the less fortunate. Winkler’s youth group aided the construction efforts of the local community, performing tasks ranging from hammering nails to testing plumbing.
Winkler, an office clerk with Guard Company, Marine Barracks Washington, continues to volunteer his time and give back to people less fortunate.
Winkler, along with six other Marines from Marine Barracks Washington, recently volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and worked to complete a project in southeast Washington D.C.
"Since being stationed in D.C., I haven’t had a lot of opportunities to volunteer in the local area," Winkler said. "I was given the chance to come out and help, so I jumped on it."
Habitat for Humanity volunteers performs a variety of tasks on construction site with the exception of highly technical tasks and the Marines were no different. They were quickly split up and each Marine received a different task.
Two Marines, Pfc. Patrick Gabriel and Cpl. April McGuire, began the day cleaning up the build site.
"Volunteering is something I’ve always wanted to do," said McGuire, a supply clerk with MCI Company at MBW. "I came from poverty. The Marine Corps has given me the chance to give back and help someone else out."
One Marine received the task of painting the siding on the roof. LCpl Jamaica Peralta, graphic designer with MCI Company, happily accepted the job and was on the roof in no time.
"Being on the roof was dangerous, but rewarding," said Peralta. "Helping out a family in need is a worthy cause."
Habitat for Humanity came to Washington D.C. in 1988. Over the last 21 years, they have built homes in all four quadrants of the district, providing housing for over 300 district residents.
"Semper Fidelis means always faithful," said Winkler. "We must be faithful to the community around us, and Habitat for Humanity allows us to do that."
Marines also constructed a fence, swept and mopped floors, and prepared the houses for sale. As the end of the day drew closer, Winkler reflected on the importance of volunteering.
"It wasn’t until recently that I realized how much of an impact we have on the local community," said Winkler. "We need to get out there and help more often; it’s a real sense of accomplishment to lend a helping hand."