MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Sailors with the 23rd Dental Company woke up early Sep. 10, 2011, to volunteer their time to help clean up the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9431, in Yucca Valley, as part of their “Adopt-a-Vet Program.”
The volunteers de-weeded the yard, chopped down some bush weeds, and repainted the post mail box.
The sailors had originally started their volunteer work with the VFW post a couple of months ago and came back Saturday to continue their work.
“They are ‘saving our bacon’ because our healthiest [member of the post] just came out of the hospital where they had to take out his gallbladder,” said Ney Keyes, the quartermaster for the post. “We just have no one to do this for us.”
“When we did the initial cleaning, all the grass was up to our waists, so we cleaned the inside and outside,” said Senior Chief Kevin Edwards, the senior enlisted leader. “We had cleared out about 30 to 40 bags of weeds from the first time there.”
The hard work of the sailors provided a bigger service for the post than just improving their yard’s appearance.
“I can’t tell you how much we appreciate it, we were two steps away from the fire marshal closing us down,” Keyes said.
Before the sailors had cleaned the yard the fire marshal was going to close the post down due to the tall weeds which were creating a fire hazard.
The volunteer work moved quickly for the sailors with a large active duty staff of dental and hospital corpsmen providing help.
“Our active duty staff is 42 people and we usually have 10 for every trip. That is about one fourth of all the sailors,” Edwards said. “[It is] hard to get up early on a Saturday to do yard work but the goal is to [help local veterans and have them] pass us onto the next [veteran who needs help] in the area.”
With the aid of Keyes and other veterans involved with the VFW hall, the dental and hospital staff will continue to help the retired veterans in the area.