9th MSC helps clean up Pearl City bike path

| April 12, 2014 | 0 Comments
Civilian volunteers from the TSG’s Environmental Section of the Directorate of Installation Management and several 9th MSC volunteers participate for the 7th consecutive year in the City and County Stormwater Branches’ Pearl City “Mauka to Makai” Bike Path cleanup, April 5. (Photo by Marybeth Racette, environmental specialist, U.S. Army Reserve-Theater Support Group & 9th Mission Support Command)

Civilian volunteers from the TSG’s Environmental Section of the Directorate of Installation Management and several 9th MSC volunteers participate for the 7th consecutive year in the City and County Stormwater Branches’ Pearl City “Mauka to Makai” Bike Path cleanup, April 5. (Photo by Marybeth Racette, environmental specialist, U.S. Army Reserve-Theater Support Group & 9th Mission Support Command)

City officials say mahalo, envision complete “Mauka to Makai” path

By Capt. Liana Kim, 9th Mission Support Command Public Affairs

WAIPAHU — Squinting in the late morning, the small, yet jubilant group, congratulated each other on their high score of “rescues”: three scooters and one kid-sized all terrain vehicle successfully pulled out of the drainage ditch, a record, they say.

Army civilian employees work together with volunteers from local organizations to remove illegally dumped items in Kapakahi Stream near Waipahu Depot Road, serving as living examples of environmental stewardship for the community, during the bike trail cleanup, April 5. (Photo by Marybeth Racette, environmental specialist, U.S. Army Reserve-Theater Support Group & 9th Mission Support Command)

Army civilian employees work together with volunteers from local organizations to remove illegally dumped items in Kapakahi Stream near Waipahu Depot Road, serving as living examples of environmental stewardship for the community, during the bike trail cleanup, April 5. (Photo by Marybeth Racette, environmental specialist, U.S. Army Reserve-Theater Support Group & 9th Mission Support Command)

About a dozen Soldiers, civilians, family members and friends of the 9th Mission Support Command and the U.S. Army Reserve Theater Support Group spent their Saturday morning volunteering at the Pearl Harbor Bike Path Cleanup, along Kapakahi Stream near Waipahu Depot Road, April 5.

Organized by the City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Environmental Services for the past eight years, the annual stream cleanup brings together several hundred volunteers from around the island to help remove rubbish and various items that have been discarded along the path and surrounding trees and waterways, marshland and trees.

This year, volunteers from several community organizations and businesses tackled the trash at different sites along the Pearl Harbor bike path. Another cleanup is is planned later.

This year was the seventh consecutive one the Army has participated.

Since Marybeth Racette, with the TSG and 9th MSC, and co-worker Amanda Barbier, initiated Army support in 1995, several other Army units, including U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii have joined in the dirty work.

Volunteers from the TSG and 9th MSC gather for a photo and enjoy beverages, fruit, water and goodie bags as a reward for their hard work during the Bike Path cleanup, April 5. (Photo by Liana Kim, 9th Mission Support Command)

Volunteers from the TSG and 9th MSC gather for a photo and enjoy beverages, fruit, water and goodie bags as a reward for their hard work during the Bike Path cleanup, April 5. (Photo by Liana Kim, 9th Mission Support Command)

“We deeply appreciate the help the military gives us,” said Tonya Ketza, community relations specialist for the City and County of Honolulu. “They not only serve and protect our country; they also help kokua the community. We welcome them with much aloha.”

“Hopefully, we made a positive impression and set an example for some folks in the community who saw us out there today,” said Christina Vicari, environmental management system specialist and energy coordinator for the TSG and the 9th MSC.

“I think we added something to the community by subtracting some things,” said Wayne Mitsko, environmental chief for TSG and 9th MSC, who plays an important role in organizing the efforts for the command.

Participants gather for a photo. (Photo by Marybeth Racette, environmental specialist, U.S. Army Reserve-Theater Support Group & 9th Mission Support Command)

Participants gather for a photo. (Photo by Marybeth Racette, environmental specialist, U.S. Army Reserve-Theater Support Group & 9th Mission Support Command)

“This is an important event for the Army Reserve family in Hawaii. It is a worthy effort and a chance for us to give back to the local community,” Mitsko said. “A few hours of our time goes a long way to improving the quality of life for all who enjoy the path, whether biking, running or just wandering through.”

“It was especially rewarding for the Army Reserve youth here today who are visiting the island for our YLEAD summit held here 17-21 March,” said Travis McKinney, Child Youth and School Services specialist for 9th MSC’s Family Programs, and spouse of Maj. Gabriella McKinney, of the 9th  MSC.

“The path is a recreational resource that many people use, whether for leisure or commuting, so it’s important we do our part in keeping it clean,” Ketza told Sgt. Elizabeth Cole for an article in 2013.

This year, she has increased hope that someday soon, there will be a continuous multiuse path along Pouhala Marsh for all in the area to enjoy.

While the Army Reserve turnout was smaller this year than in the past, due to a change in Battle Training Assembly dates, Racette said she was thankful for those who did participate, including some young folks who enjoyed helping restore the area to its natural beauty.

“We’re looking forward to a big turn out at our Earth Day event on April 26,” Mitsko said. “It’s free and open to the public, on the 9th MSC parade field at Fort Shafter Flats, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.”

“There will be several bands, food, etc.,” said Racette, “and fun for the kids, too. Bring the whole family.”

• Earth Day flyer
For information on how to be an everyday clean water hero, visit www.cleanwaterhonolulu.com.

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Category: Community, Community Relations, Sustainability

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