CHIRIQUI GRANDE, Panama (NNS) -- A Continuing Promise 2010 (CP10) community relations team, comprised of Sailors and Marines assigned to USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), erected a playground for a local Panamanian primary school Sept. 30.
The Escuela Silico Creek school was the fourth to receive a playground set installed by service members on behalf of the humanitarian assistance mission Continuing Promise.
"For all of the projects I've done so far, I get the most out of building the playgrounds," said Hull Technician 2nd Class Shane Hutzenbiler, Seabee volunteer leader. "It's their smiles that really make it all worth it."
As participants began the construction, scores of local children arrived from a nearby village to watch the action. Sailors and Marines included local children in the assembly process, ensuring each part of the play set was accessible to even the smallest child.
Children swarmed the playground once it was completed, and even invited the Sailors and Marines who built their new toy to play with them.
"I think we did a lot of good out there," said Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Fuel) Linard Feaster, construction team leader. "They didn't have anywhere to play, so we gave them a slide, a few swings, and just a general area for them to enjoy playtime like kids are supposed to."
The experience was especially meaningful to Iwo Jima's crew members.
"A lot of us on the ship don't really know the impact of what's being done out here because we don't see it on a daily basis," said Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Jocelyn Priola. "It's a humbling and gratifying experience once you witness it in person."
This was the first of two playgrounds built in Panama. Similar sites were also constructed by Continuing Promise 10 volunteer teams in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.
Iwo Jima is currently off the coast of Panama and will move on to Guyana and Suriname for the final phases of Continuing Promise 2010, a humanitarian assistance mission in which the assigned medical and engineering staff embarked aboard Iwo Jima will work with partner nation teams to provide medical, dental, veterinary and engineering assistance in eight nations.
For more news from U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command & U.S. 4th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusns/.