By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (AW) Maebel Tinoko, Navy Public Affairs Element Support Element West, det. Northwest
May 19, 2010 - SILVERDALE, Wash. (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines from commands around Kitsap County volunteered their time to help the Ridgetop Junior High School with the school's annual track and field competition May 18.
Ridgetop Junior High school students competed with Central Kitsap Junior High school students in various sports ranging from the high jump, long jump, shot put, and pole vault along with relay races.
Volunteers helped with setting up different track meet events, recording student scores and timing relay races.
"It's important to be a positive influence to the students in our community because we can set a good example to them," said Fire Control Technician 2nd Class (SS) Ryan Bibb, USS Nebraska (SSBN 739) (Blue), volunteer coordinator. "It is great to do something for the community and help out in anyway we can."
Service members team up with local schools as part of the military's Personal Excellence through Cooperative Education (PECE) program. PECE focuses on strengthening education, fitness and citizenship to American youth throughout Navy Region Northwest.
"We needed extra help, and the volunteers have been fantastic," said James Welsch, coach for the Ridgetop Junior High school track team. "Having the military be part of this event means a lot to the students, and we are thankful for the help and time."
For Staff Sgt. Craig Shafer from Marine Corps Recruiting Station Silverdale, Wash., volunteering at this school holds a special place in his heart.
"This volunteer opportunity is special to me because I used to attend this school," said Shafer. "It's great to give back to the community, and this school means a lot to me because I grew up here."
For Sonar Technician Submarine 2nd Class (SS) Enrique Ramirez, USS Nebraska (SSBN 739) (Blue), sonar work center supervisor, volunteering is a way to show the community what the Navy is all about.
"Volunteering is a way to show the community we keep high standards in the Navy, and we want to show a positive image of the military," said Ramirez. "We can establish a good relationship with the surrounding schools and get a chance to educate students about what we do at our commands."