News: MRF-D Marines celebrate sports carnival with Rosebery Middle School
Story by Cpl. Scott Reel
PALMERSTON, Northern Territory, Australia - Marines with Marine Rotational Force – Darwin participated in Rosebery Middle School’s Annual Sports Carnival as a part of their ongoing mentorship program, here, June 12, 2014.
Staff Sgt. Elijah Bowser, assistant logistics chief for 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, MRF-D, was a part of the program from the first day.
“I love working with kids,” he said. “I’ve done it quite a few times since I’ve been in the Marine Corps. Before I joined the Marine Corps I was always volunteering.”
Bowser always dances and laughs with the kids, motivating everyone to participate and have fun.
Kara Holdom, project coordinator for the mentorship program, shares Bowser’s enthusiasm and energy with the kids. Holdom wore a costume to the carnival while the kids put face-paint on Bowser.
“Their faces light up and they’re engaged,” Holdom said. “They have some positivity to them and they actually look forward to the next time the Marines come out. The kids that aren’t involved in the program want to be involved because they see how much fun the other kids are having, and they want to be a part of it.”
Over the past two months, the Marines have seen the progress of the hard work and attention they’ve given to the school.
“Some of the teachers have told us that we’ve made progress during our time here,” Bowser said. “They have seen a difference in some of the kids that would normally not participate.”
Throughout the program, the kids created a memorial garden project that included a garden, furniture and a rock with two plaques to commemorate the landings of Gallipoli and the efforts of the Marines at the school.
“The school got the community involved for the memorial garden project that the kids came up with and they donated rocks, paint, and materials that we used to make it come to life,” Bowser said. “That’s all a donation from the community. They are just as eager to be involved as the students and staff at the school.”
The carnival is not only a day to compete and have fun, but a day to look back and see the changes in the kids and school and the role of the Marines.
“I’m proud of where we started from and where we are now and it’s going to be really hard to leave this place at the end of the rotation,” Bowser said.
Although MRF-D has an aggressive training schedule that spans nearly six months, having an impact on the community is a vital part of the Marines’ efforts.