Frosty service members brave arctic temperatures to beautify city
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Service members from Misawa Air Base, Japan, struck out across Misawa City to pick up trash during the second Misawa City Cleanup event Feb. 23, 2013.
Seventy-two volunteers bundled up and met in the Exchange parking lot ready to help beautify the city. The volunteers broke into six groups, took their garbage bags and set out on their way in the 27 F temperatures.
"I thought it was a pretty good event," said Staff Sgt. Richard Glass, 35th Dental Squadron dental assistant. "We went out looking for trash, and as a result, we made a lot of Japanese people smile and say thank you. I believe they liked to see us out there doing what we were doing."
For some, this interaction was more important than the amount of trash picked up, and the volunteer's presence helped to show American service members helping the community.
"The base should do more community activities like this," said Glass. "With events like this, the Japanese get to see who we really are firsthand ... we're here for them. I believe that we demonstrated that Americans are nice people and if they [the Japanese] need help they can count on us."
The volunteer's actions didn't go unnoticed.
"I'm very thankful to see people from base coming out to clean up the city," said Raquel Hasagawa, Misawa City business owner. "It's good, because it helps to strengthen the base and community partnership."
It wasn't just the off-base community that felt the Misawa City Cleanup event was more than picking up trash.
"Seeing the Japanese smile at us when we came around, gave me this surreal feeling," said Airman 1st Class Zachary Kee, 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs photojournalist. "To see how they appreciated our efforts, gave me a better understanding of community."
The Misawa City Cleanup is a monthly event; if you are interested in participating stay tuned to American Forces Network AM 1575 or keep eyes on the 35th Fighter Wing Facebook page.