Marines with 1/2 make difference in community

28 Aug 2013 | Lance Cpl. Scott Whiting 2nd Marine Division

Six Marines and sailors from 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division volunteered at a muscular dystrophy summer camp in Greensboro, N.C., Aug. 3-9, 2013.
Sergeant Kirk Luna; Corporals Luke Johnson and Anthony Ciraulo; Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Joel Haworth, Lance Corporals Elias Ramirez, and Wilson Rodriguez and Pfc. William Giarrantana gave up their own time to help out children who suffer from muscular dystrophy.
This is the first time the battalion has participated in a volunteer opportunity of this size, and the Marines are looking for similar opportunities for the future.
“Hopefully, monthly, we’ll be able to do some sort of volunteering out in town,” said 1st Lt. Matthew Anater, the battalion’s adjutant. “It doesn’t have to be a multi-day event, but we want to do something to maintain a positive presence in the community.”
Anater said Marines are sometimes in the local headlines for negative things, but this is a chance for the surrounding community to hear about something positive Marines are doing.
 “We just want to show that not only are we successful in times of war, but we are successful in the garrison and in helping out our community,” Anater said
Johnson, whose close childhood friend has a brother who suffers from muscular dystrophy, was honored to have the chance to help.
“When I was presented with this opportunity, obviously I jumped right on it,” Johnson said. “I’m used to seeing what that disease does to people, so I have no problem helping out.”
Johnson said the Marines were the camp counselors, and their job was to aid the children in whatever ways they needed help.
“People there have different levels of muscular dystrophy,” Johnson said. “Some of the kids need help throwing a football, where some of them need help walking.”
Johnson said he keeps in regular contact with his camper, Nick.
“Just because they grew up with a disease that will debilitate them to a wheelchair, or may result in their death by age 26, doesn’t mean they show it,” Johnson said. “The kids are full of energy and life. I highly recommend anyone who has the chance to volunteer there to take advantage of it.”