BERBICE, Guyana (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines currently embarked on board the multi-purpose amphibious ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) worked together to construct playground equipment for children attending Edinburg School in the Berbice Region of Guyana Oct. 24.
Service members assembled pre-fabricated playground equipment for children as part of a Continuing Promise 2010 (CP10) community relations project sponsored by Iwo Jima's Chaplain department.
Iwo Jima Command Chaplain Cmdr. Tim Oswald, summarized the importance of the project as providing service members with the opportunity to impact the CP10 mission in-country by helping local children.
"With the playground, the children will have additional choices for creative interaction and recreation," said Oswald. "It reflects the best in our Sailors and Marines because they sacrifice their time to do something that is not required but will bring joy to the children at this school in Guyana."
U.S. Marine 2nd Lt. Taylor Couch, ground safety officer for Helicopter Marine Medium 744, and project leader for the day, volunteered for the project because it provided a great opportunity to get off the ship and perform community service.
"It's an opportunity to see the country and to directly support the mission we're here to do," said Couch. "Community relations have been a great opportunity for Marines and Sailors to see the results of the work they do everyday and hopefully it gives them their best memories of CP10."
Iwo Jima Sailor Boatswain's Mate First Class (SW/AW) John Offiong, volunteered for the project because he enjoys making people happy, and because it portrays the United States in a positive light.
"I want to make someone else's life better and change people's impressions of the United States," said Offiong. "These kids will grow up knowing Americans aren't bad."
Oswald hopes service members involved with the project will remember the impact they had on Guyana long after they have left.
"For most if not all of them it is the only time they will set foot on Guyana, they will remember this country through the lens of service," said Oswald. "Hopefully they will enjoy the even larger reward of seeing the faces on some of the children as they play on their new equipment."
CP10 is a humanitarian civic assistance (HCA) mission. The assigned medical and engineering staff embarked on board Iwo Jima are working with host nation teams to provide medical, dental, veterinary, and engineering assistance to eight Central American nations.
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