Pacific Army Reserves, NFL go ‘green’ one more time

| January 30, 2014 | 0 Comments
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (back row, white hat) and 9th MSC volunteers are all smiles after planting trees and shrubs at Hahaione Elementary School, Jan. 24.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (back row, white hat) and 9th MSC volunteers are all smiles after planting trees and shrubs at Hahaione Elementary School, Jan. 24.

Story and photos by Brian Melanephy, 9th Mission Support Command Public Affairs

HONOLULU — Thirty-four Pacific Army Reserve Soldiers, civilians and family members carpooled from Fort Shafter Flats to Hahaione Elementary School, Jan. 24, for the 3rd annual 9th Mission Support Command, NFL tree planting event.

The tree planting team, including Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, arrived at the school shortly after noon to little bits of rain and a bunch of smiling kids.

Staff Sgt. Felipe Hernandez Jr., human resources sergeant, Det. 2, 1984th U.S. Army Hospital, digs a hole with a pick axe during a volunteer tree-planting event at Hahaione Elementary School, Jan. 24.

Staff Sgt. Felipe Hernandez Jr., human resources sergeant, Det. 2, 1984th U.S. Army Hospital, digs a hole with a pick axe during a volunteer tree-planting event at Hahaione Elementary School, Jan. 24.

After conducting a safety briefing, the volunteers met with NFL Environmental Program representatives and school officials. The task for the day was to interact with the students and to plant six kukui nut trees and approximately 100 plants and shrubs.

The volunteers got a quick lesson in tree planting and then went to work.

For MaryBeth Racette, U.S. Army Reserve-Theater Support Group (USAR-TSG) Environmental specialist, who coordinated the event, the excitement level went from high to stratospheric, with the appearance of Newton.

“If ‘extra-cited’ was a word that would be the best description,” said Racette. “My son is a huge Panthers fan and meeting (Cam) Newton gave me ‘cool mom’ credits.”

Cool moms and dads were everywhere for this event, including Sgt. 1st Class Deaundra Dotson, senior Human Resources sergeant, 2nd Detachment, 1984th U.S. Army Hospital, who brought her kindergarten-aged daughter with her to have some fun and learn along the way.

Maj. Ramzy Nefoussi, collective training officer, 9th MSC, puts gloves on his daughter, Ranya, before planting trees with fellow Army Reserve Soldiers, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and Hahaione Elementary School students at the third annual Pacific Army Reserve, NFL tree-planting event at the school, Jan. 24.

Maj. Ramzy Nefoussi, collective training officer, 9th MSC, puts gloves on his daughter, Ranya, before planting trees with fellow Army Reserve Soldiers, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and Hahaione Elementary School students at the third annual Pacific Army Reserve, NFL tree-planting event at the school, Jan. 24.

“I brought my daughter with me to the (NFL tree planting) event because it was important for me to lead by example and show my child, not just tell her the importance of giving back to our community and giving our time to a cause that can affect so many other people,” Dotson said.

This year was Dotson’s first participating; however, if she is still stationed here next year she will most likely volunteer again.

“The event was a bonding moment and such a memorable experience for me and my daughter, Veronica. We both had an amazing time seeing the smiles on the children’s faces, as well as the community participation made all the hard work worth it,” Dotson added.

After the tree planting was complete, participants stopped and went to an outdoor assembly. At the assembly, Cam Newton stepped up to the microphone and talked to kids about the importance of taking care of the environment. A Hawaiian tree blessing and a ceremonial groundbreaking followed.

The tree planting is one of three major events coordinated by USAR-TSG Environmental Division. The division also coordinates an Earth Day Festival at Fort Shafter Flats and the annual Pearl City Bike Path clean up.

The Environmental Division educates Pacific Army Reserve Soldiers, civilians and their family members on the importance of environmental sustainability and works hard to keep the command environmentally compliant.

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Category: Community, Community Relations, Sustainability

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