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This page was captured from the GOSPORT online newspaper, April 17, 1998 issue.



Marines land at local middle school

1d.gifBagging leaves is a two-man job which is handled with dispatch by a student/Marine team. 1e.gifTommy Paquete lends a hand with a flower bed
Story, photos by Art Giberson
Managing Editor

More than 50 Marines from the Marine Aviation Training Support Group and and Aviation Maintenance Squadron-One (AMS-1) recently made a Clean and Green landing at Bellview Middle School. Their mission: mingle with 6-7-8-graders, emphasize the need for education, rake, plant flowers and shrubbery, and in general have fun and leave the campus in a clean and green condition.

From the moment they arrived in the Cradle of Naval Aviation, AMS-1 staff and students have worked diligently to create a positive interaction between the Marines and the community.

One of their first projects was the adoption of Bellview Middle School as a Partner in Education. However, according to Diane Gunlock, a parent/educator at the West Pensacola school, there is some doubt as to who adopted who.

“We sort of adopted them,” Gunlock said during the April 3 Clean and Green project. “It would be very difficult to accomplish all of our goals without the Marines. They’re wonderful. The kids love them, and are always willing to do whatever we request of them...from tutoring to cleanup and fix-up projects.”

“This is great,” said 12-year-old Jacob Moffett, referring to the school’s annual Clean and Green. “It sure beats sitting in a classroom. This way we get a chance to mix with the Marines and do something for our school.”
Whether the kids realized it or not, the importance of education and staying in school was consistently being emphasized by the Marines.

“I want to be a professional basketball player when I grow up,” one young man said, tossing a basketball into the air. “Not me,” clamored in a six-grader, “I’m gonna join the Navy...or maybe the Marines.”

“Great plans,” praised Pfc Paul Radich. “But a good education is important whether you’re in the NBA, or one of the armed forces.”

The students saw a very practical application of the importance of education, when Maj. Robert A. Doss promoted one of the Marines, Kevin Jenkins, to lance corporal prior to the start of the Clean and Green project.
1a.gifSurrounded by an eager group of future pro athletes and service men, Pfc. Paul Radich sings the praises of education whether in the basketball court or in the military. 1b.gifCWO5 Robert Bath joins other Marines in leaf-raking chores at Bellview Middle School.  1c.gifPfc. Edward Lindstrom and two newly made friends plant flowers near the main walkway of the school.