Story and Photo by
Sgt. Gaelen Lowers
8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs
MAKAHA — Soldiers support the community that supports them.
This goal was the underlying theme when more than 40 volunteers, comprised of Soldiers, volunteered to support the Dive Against Debris and Beach Cleanup at Makaha Beach Park, here, March 10.
Soldiers participated from the 8th Theater Sustainment Command and the 25th Infantry Division. The event was sponsored by Staff Sgt. Andrew Rudkosky, network controller with Signal Company, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 25th Infantry Division.
Rudkosky was also the main organizer for the day’s event; he hosts the scuba site www.MyDive.co.
“A couple of years ago, I got into diving, and then, more recently, I found the website of the Project Aware Foundation,” said Rudkosky, explaining that the foundation was doing its part for the environment. “I wanted to figure out how to get involved.”
The Project Aware Foundation is comprised of scuba divers protecting the ocean planet — one dive at a time. The foundation’s main concern is underwater conservation, focusing on two major ocean issues: sharks in peril and marine debris.
The volunteers cleaned up hundreds of pounds of trash, rubbish and debris across the 1,500 foot-long beach park.
“As Soldiers, we have to have that volunteer mentality,” said Sgt. 1st Class Victor Rivera, platoon sergeant for Sig. Co, HHC, 25th ID. “We’re here, and the locals are allowing us to utilize their space, so we should take care of it for them and for us.”
The dive portion of the day was subsequently canceled, due to unfavorable water conditions, but will be rescheduled at a later date.
“I was excited to go diving and clean up the reef, but I’ll come back when they reschedule,” said Spc. Keith Carpenter, communications and technology specialist, 8th TSC, and an amateur diver. “It’s really important to me and my military friends that we get out here and do as much as possible for our ecosystem. We only have one world to live in. We have to take care of it.”
“I always enjoy doing what I can for the environment,” Carpenter said. “I try to always improve any place that I am, and who can complain about being outside cleaning up here in Hawaii? No one can complain about a day at the beach.”