STATE AWARD: Fort Shafter, Hawaii
More than 2,500 soldiers, civilian employees from the Army and their families volunteered at 52 projects throughout Hawaii. Volunteers renovated, painted and repaired 15 project sites, including the building of two food pantries for homeless shelters.
Volunteers entertained veterans and the elderly, began tutoring programs and collected food and toiletries for three abuse shelters, a food bank and the Salvation Army. Many spent the day at 15 sites cleaning trash along the road and beach, including 24 soldiers who used their skills to rappel down Diamond Head volcano to pick up a ton of "unreachable" litter.
Aboard the U.S.S. Missouri, many soldiers participated in a massive restoration project preserving an important part of military history. At other locations youth repaired a teen center and painted shelters. Lt. Raymond Jablonka spent the day at a training session learning how to tutor children and agreed to spend five Saturday mornings a semester to work with the children. "It's really improved our relationship with the community. There was this misnomer of soldiers being rough and tough. This has shown our softer side," says Jablonka. $2,000 award benefits HUI O NA WAHINE.