SMITHFIELD, N.C. -- The charitable work of Leathernecks from 8th Marine Regiment Camp Lejeune, N.C., who have lent their spare time to help underprivileged children in the past year, was recognized at an awards ceremony given by North Carolina Governor James B. Hunt Jr. at Johnston Community College Sept. 25.
The Governors Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service was presented to Sgt. Maj. Ronald Fetherson, 8th Marines sergeant major, on behalf of the regiment that had Marines who volunteered their spare time to help third and fourth grade students who performed poor in reading exams. The Marines helped improve the children?s reading skills by sitting down and reading along with the students who required help.
"The regiment is greatly honored to receive the award, but we do not perform our charity work for any special honors. Kids now read better because of helpful Marines," said Navy Cmdr. James Vinson, regimental chaplain for 8th Marines. "We are glad our help is appreciated, and hope we can continue to be of assistance the local community in the future," he said.
According to Vinson, who is from Woodland, N.C., the children at Queens Creek Elementary whose reading scores were below grade level received tutoring help by Camp Lejeune Marines, which in turn raised each of the tutored students reading scores by at least 80 percent.
"To see a third grader who reads at a first grade level when you begin tutoring him or her progress to be able to read at a grade, or even two grades, higher after you finish tutoring them is very self rewarding. It shows that we did our job," said New Orleans native Lance Cpl. Joseph Buchanan, administrative clerk for 8th Marines and one of the volunteer tutors at Queens Creek Elementary School.
Also present at the ceremony were 168 other recipients from around eastern North Carolina who received the award for their volunteer work, which was also sponsored by the Governors Office of Citizens Affairs.
"You do this because it is the right thing to do, and I commend you," said the governor praising the volunteers receiving the honor.
The award the volunteers received is given out once a year and has been given to more than 10,000 people in the North Carolina area during Hunt?s 16 years in office.
"There is nothing Carol and I believe in more than personal commitment or personal volunteering," said the governor, referring to his wife and himself.