News: One good deed leads to another
Story by Cpl. Paul Peterson
JACKSONVILLE, N.C. - They filtered into the small storage shed like ants stocking up for the winter. Box after box sagged from the weight of the donated food items that began to crowd the room.
What started as a friendly competition among the servicemembers with 2nd Supply Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group took an unexpected turn as the unit delivered it’s horde of goods.
The Marines and sailors with Medical Logistics Company, 2nd Supply Bn. lugged more than 6,000 pounds of donated supplies into the Jacksonville USO only to realize they had created a new hurdle – how do they fit it all?
“We created a problem by bringing so much food in,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Edward Rogers, a bio-medical technician with the company. “They didn’t have adequate shelving space, and they had no shelving space in the basement at all.”
The company’s commanding officer, Lt. Cmdr. Darren J. Pierce, approached Rogers with an idea to refurbish the organization’s storage area to accommodate all the food.
A team of volunteers set out to work taking measurements and building shelving in January and February. Over the course of several weeks, a group of the unit’s Marines and sailors volunteered their free time to completely remodel the storage area.
“There was no organization, and they didn’t know what they had,” said Rogers, a native of Loudon, Tenn. “We went in there and just gutted the whole room.”
The servicemembers worked in two-day increments and put in roughly 20 hours of labor clearing the area, constructing shelves, restocking supplies, and setting up an organizational system, said Rogers.
“I was really grateful for the opportunity to volunteer,” said Cpl. Shenai R. Britton, a native of New Orleans, La., and supply administration clerk with the unit. “Now I know where my efforts are going. I can actually see it going somewhere, helping out other families, and making sure they get a chance to eat.”
For Britton, it was also a chance to return a favor.
“I was in Hurricane Katrina a while ago,” said Britton. “I noticed all the [servicemembers] helping us out, and I was like, ‘I want to do that someday. I want to help others.’”
None of the volunteers expected recognition for their efforts, so it came as a surprise when the president for the USO of North Carolina, John Falkenbury, called the servicemembers back to the building to receive awards March 7.
Several of the original volunteers returned to the site of their good deed. Falkenbury personally thanked each of the volunteers and presented them with certificates of appreciation.
“It was more me giving back to them than them giving back to me,” said Rogers. “In my eyes, I was helping an organization that was going to help more of my guys later on down the road.”
Rogers has spent nearly eight years in the Jacksonville area and said he has been impressed by the impact of the area’s nonprofit organizations. He and other volunteers said they are planning to continue their efforts with future projects.