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Marines and Sailors Help Restore a School for Underprivileged Children in Sicily

13 Jul 2016 | Gunnery Sgt. Neill Sevelius 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit

The Marines and Sailors volunteered more than six hours, assembling a fence, landscaping, painting and fixing irrigation canals.

The language barrier aside, the servicemembers and local Italians worked together in what Staff Sgt. Robert Schmitt described as “an impressive transformation, and one of my most gratifying experiences.” He added, “I’ve participated in a lot of COMRELs, most in Japan and one in Senegal. This one was the most labor-intensive. I saw eye-to-eye with the staff. They really care for these kids, and we respected that.”

The school staff showed their appreciation by presenting a lunch of pasta, sausage, bread, fruit and pastries for the service members.

“These guys really helped out. We would not have been able to complete such huge tasks with the people and time we have here,” said the school’s curator and main teacher.

The Marines and Sailors did more than just yard work and construction. They donated a day of their free time to help create a better learning atmosphere for underprivileged children.

A day that started with handshakes and introductions concluded with smiles and embraces.

“Some days you wake up not knowing if you will have any real contribution,” said Maj. Darryl Lamberth. “Today is not one of those days.”