News: 2nd Med Bn. hikes for hunger
Story by Lance Cpl. Shawn Valosin
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Marines and sailors with 2nd Medical Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 25, 2nd Marine Logistics Group gathered early in the cold morning with packs laden with nonperishable items, and set out for a six mile hike.
The purpose for the hike was twofold: to maintain mission readiness and collect food for families who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford a Thanksgiving meal.
Prior to embarking, Navy Capt. Michael Sokolowski, the commanding officer of the battalion, gave a few words of encouragement to his troops.
“All of you participating today speaks volumes of your commitment to your shipmates,” said Sokolowski. “I’m extremely proud of you and your performance.”
Service members hiked with 65 pound packs, and were encouraged to substitute normal packing list items with canned goods and other nonperishable food items. Those who participated in the food drive emptied their packs at the halfway mark and loaded the donated items onto trucks. Along with feeling good about helping their fellow Marines and sailors, they were also allowed to hike back with lighter loads.
“It was a good hike … we were moving pretty quick,” said Staff Sgt. Francois D. Still, a Marine with the battalion administration shop who participated in the hike. “It was nice to come out and help Marines and sailors who wouldn’t be able to eat a Thanksgiving meal.”
Capt. Sokolowski stressed the importance of taking care of the families of Marines and sailors within the battalion. He pointed out that some families are financially strained due to a number of reasons. This food drive is one way the battalion can take care of their own, and charity organizations can focus their efforts on other families in need.
“We all know what it’s like not to be able to have a Thanksgiving meal, whether you’re deployed or at home,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Martha Harrigan. “We want our deployed service members to know that their Marines and sailors here are taking care of their families.”
Once the hike was completed, all the items that were donated were sorted and weighed. The Marines and sailors of 2nd Medical Bn. collected more than 1,000 pounds of nonperishables.
Leaders within the battalion are planning to make gift baskets from the items gathered during the hike and will present them to families in need before the holidays. Whatever items aren’t needed for the families will be donated to local food banks.