by Nika Nashiro
U.S. Marine Corps Installations Pacific
March 3, 2019
Marines from Camp Hansen volunteered to paint the archway outside the Camp Hansen Gate 1 in Kin Town, Okinawa on November 17, 2018.
A total of 16 Marines with 3rd Intelligence Battalion, III Marine Expeditionary Force, arrived early in the morning and started refurbishing the aged archway by sanding rust off from over the years and applying new coats of paint.
“This is the first time the archway has been painted since it was constructed around 20 years ago,” said Motohiro Yamashiro, Kin Town Commerce and Tourism Section chief.
This volunteer project was first initiated a year ago by one of the former executive officers with the 3rd Intel Bn. One day, the captain saw the weathered archway while stopped at a traffic light on his daily commute and thought it needed to be restored, according to 1st Lt. Daniel Burrell, battalion adjutant for 3rd Intel Bn. Burrell has taken over the project since the captain’s departure.
“Although the captain started the project, he was unable to get the scaffolding to reach the archway before he left,” said Burrell. “I thought it was a brilliant idea, so I decided to pursue it through working with the Camp Hansen community relations specialist.”
Five organizations between Japan and the U.S. came together to refurbish the archway. The North Shore Baptist Church, located right outside Gate 1, provided the Japanese and American flag vinyl sheets, while the American Engineering Corporation lent out the scaffolding at no cost. The Kin Town Commerce and Tourism Division contributed the paint and the painting supplies. MT Reform, a local home remodeling company, supplied some tools and supervised the project. Lastly, 3rd Intel. Bn. arranged all of the volunteers as manpower, according to Burrell.
“It’s a relatively small project, but I believe it’ll have a big impact,” said Burrell. “Our goal is to create a starting point of renewed cooperation and commitment to building Kin Town by partnering with local business owners and making it a better place for everyone.”
The battalion has been participating in numerous volunteer activities including beach cleanups and teaching English to both local preschools and working professionals. Along with those activities, they have engaged in cultural and friendship exchanges with members from the local community of Kin, according to Burrell.
“I think these kinds of friendship exchanges are fantastic,” said Makoto Toguchi, representative of MT Reform who oversaw the project. “I am always amazed by Americans’ volunteer spirit.”
Kin Town officials find this project outstanding as they have been planning to restore the archway for two to three years. Having the local community come together for a cause was wonderful, according to Yamashiro.
“We are always looking for opportunities to show our appreciation and to give back to the community that we are a part of,” said Burrell.