News: MRF-D Marines and Australian soldiers transform daycare yard
Story by Sgt. Sarah Fiocco
PALMERSTON, Northern Territory, Australia – Marines with Marine Rotational Force – Darwin and Australian soldiers with 1st Combat Signals Regiment, 1st Brigade, helped makeover the front yard of Kid’s Brigade Early Learning Centre, here, July 25.
The Marines and Australian soldiers planted seeds with the children who attend the daycare and laid mulch and rocks in the yard in celebration of National Tree Day. This was the first joint community-relations event for MRF-D Marines and Australian soldiers.
“I’ve worked a lot with children. It felt good to come out here and interact with them,” said Lance Cpl. Lomathias McNealey, administrative specialist, Headquarters Platoon, Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, MRF-D. “The best part was painting the cups where they planted the seeds. They’re pretty artistic. It was a good feeling to give back.”
Styrofoam cups were not the only things the children painted. One brave Australian soldier had some color added to his face at the hands of the young children.
“The face painting was pretty funny,” joked Australian Pvt. Tim Pratt, information assistant technician, 1st CSR, 1st Brigade, as he cleaned lingering paint from his ears. “I volunteered to let them do it.”
Since the Marines in Darwin usually work with soldiers from Fifth Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, this was the fist bilateral event 1st CSR soldiers and MRF-D Marines conducted together.
“I enjoyed chatting with the Marines today,” said Pratt. “It was good to work together here.”
A local government member also helped transform the garden and was very impressed with the hard work of the service members.
“I think it’s a fantastic initiative of the Kid’s Brigade. They wanted to actively engage with our ADF soldiers here in Palmerston and, of course, with the Marine rotational force,” said Lia Finocchiaro, member for Drysdale, local Member of Parliament, Palmerston. “National Tree Day is significant. It gets the community involved in conservation activities by regenerating urban spaces.”
Finocchiaro said the community enjoys the service members’ involvement in local schools.
“Palmerston has always had a really strong affiliation with the military. It’s really important that ADF soldiers and Marines get involved in these activities,” explained Finocchiaro. “They’re such tremendous role models for our young Territorians. I think just by looking at the smiles on their faces that the kids here today are completely impressed and in awe of the soldiers and Marines.”