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Marine Corps Recruiting Command

Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.

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Sacramento Marines lend hand in nationwide effort to assist ‘Katrina’ victims

By Sgt. Krystal N. Leach | 12th Marine Corps District | September 17, 2005

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- As East Coast Marines wade through the aftermath of Louisiana’s deadly flood zones, left by Hurricane Katrina’s path of destruction, survivors slowly begin are bringing their lives back to some kind of normalcy.

The West Coast Marines of Recruiting Station Sacramento found it in their hearts to lend a helping hand in what seemed to be a nationwide effort in assisting Katrina victims to regain some of the simple comforts of home, despite their losses.

All 14 stations throughout RS Sacramento’s area of operation decided to take a break from their usual mission of finding, screening, and enlisting potential Marines.  Instead, the recruiters accompanied by family, friends, member of the Delayed Entry Program and former Marines rolled up their sleeves and commenced to lend a hand in the effort of restoring hope back into the hearts and minds of sullen victims.

That Saturday the sun shined brightly and the cars lined up at several different locations throughout the Sacramento, Redding, Chico, and even Carson City, Nevada areas to get washed by willing Marines all in the name of community service.

Marines with water hoses, soapy sponges, and big hearts for community service spent their Saturday washing cars for donations to benefit the Katrina victims.

"We felt it was important to help out,” said Gunnery Sgt. Stephen J. Caron, staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge, RS Stockton.  “We felt that while our Marines on the east coast were called into Louisiana to help in the recovery and assistance effort, we could at least try to raise some funds to donate to the victims in regaining their lives back.”

Caron along with his seven recruiters took the initiative to get what might have seemed like the entire local community evolved in the mind frame of  “helping out.”   The Stockton Marines arranged to have a large section of the shopping center parking lot, which they are located at marked off for the car wash.  They even enlisted the help of the local Young Marines, The Stockton Marine Club, and local businesses, radio, and television stations to lend a hand.

"Everyone was more than willing to help out because they knew that it was for a much needed cause,” Caron said.  “Even the local pizza restaurant donated pizzas, canned sodas, and bottled water to feed the volunteers."

Caron’s team setup shop at 8:30 am and kept two lines of cars strolling in until 4 p.m.   The local television station broadcast live from the carwash all-day, while three local radio stations setup shop to follow suite, playing music for the volunteers and steady flux of donators.

“It’s amazing how many of the members of this community don’t have the money to donate but find it in their hearts to do so anyway,” Caron mentioned while watching the steady influx of cars come in the lot.

Influential members of their local community thanked the Marines as well.

“Thanks for doing this for the community, this was great because not to much else was going on here in Stockton (for helping the Katrina victims), you guys really did a great job,” said Edward J. Chavez, mayor of Stockton, who also came out to support the carwash.  “Any time the Marines need anything at all, please don’t hesitate to call me.”

The recruiters of Reno, Nevada, also took to the streets to raise donations for the victims.
Staff Sgt. Terrence G. Horan, SNCOIC, RSS Reno, took his recruiters to the local football games and Annual Reno Air Races to raise donations.

“It’s important to us to impact the community by giving something back,” Horan said.  “Last month we participated in the blood drive and this month we wanted to raise as much funds as possible to assist the victims of Katrina.”

Closer to RS Headquarters, the recruiters of RSS Roseville along with the local Northern Chapter of Marine Moms organization raised close to $7,000 by joining forces to help out in washing cars for donations.  For one recruiter the cause hit very close to home.

“My entire family is from New Orleans and many lost their homes, so it was really important for me to be here today and wash cars,” said Sgt. Scott B. Brown, recruiter, RSS Roseville. 
Brown recalled the story of his father, whose home was flooded by Katrina as he was rescued from his roof of his home surrounded by murky flood waters but still went out to lend a hand in the search and rescue effort, helping to recover neighbors who were still stranded on their home’s rooftops.

Some of the RS Marines, like Brown, had family members that were impacted by this sudden tragedy, while others only know that if, like on the battlefield, when a brother is in need then it is their job to dig deep and lend a hand.

“For the month of September, our mission was not only recruiting qualified applicants as usual, but for helping those in need,” said Capt. William V. Gorsuch, executive officer, RS Sacramento.

The Marines of RS Sacramento raised an eye-catching sum of $42, 741 in donations for Hurricane Katrina victims.  All donations were turned over to the local Red Cross to assist them in their mission of helping Katrina victims gain one more step closer to moving on.

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