Self Help Program – alternative to lengthy work orders

22 Oct 2005 | Lance Cpl. Brandon R. Holgersen

Marines take pride in their appearance, both personal and workplace. The Public Works Department’s Self Help program can provide a faster alternative to fixing small problems around the office and work areas than submitting a work request.

The program allows people on base to get the tools, materials, and advice to fix many small issues, such as damaged ceiling tiles, window screens or blinds, and other small maintenance needs.

The program has been around for several years and can provide much needed resources for routine maintenance and care of buildings and grounds, according to Master Gunnery Sgt. Barry L. Rocker, the base facilities chief. Rocker also added Marines can check out a long list of tools and supplies to do projects which take less than 18 man-hours to complete.

The self help personnel will also provide training for a unit that wants to do specific repairs to their building, according to Rocker.

The program does have some guidelines: work should be similar to what an average homeowner might accomplish, and work must repair or improve real property, not result in new construction like shelves or storage sheds.

To utilize the resources of Self Help, the requestor must complete a NAVFAC 9-11014/20 form, which can be obtained from the Installations and Environment Web site at After the requestor has obtained the appropriate approval and signature from the unit’s logistics section, the request must then be hand delivered to Work Reception in Building 1005. The turn-around time for requests is usually one to two working days, according to recently retired Gunnery Sergeant Mark Wendling, one of the professionals in the Self Help office.

By taking advantage of the program, units can help maintain the longevity of their buildings and workspaces, according to Wendling. Cyclic maintenance inspectors visit most buildings only during certain times of the year or even every couple of years, and many small problems can arise that can be easily fixed by the unit and Self Help.

“The program takes a big load off Public Works because the units can do some of the work themselves and leave larger maintenance projects to Public Works,” said Wendling.

The program can also provide tools for trimming hedges, cutting grass, edging sidewalks, and supplies for painting to keep a building well maintained and looking nice, according to Rocker. The Self Help Program provides good training and gives the Marines a sense of pride and ownership in keeping their facilities maintained at a high standard.