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Lance Cpl. Francisco Mende, an administrative specialist with Combat Logistics Regiment 17 and a native of San Fernando, Calif., runs with La Paloma Elementary School students during the school’s jog-a-thon, May 3, 2013. Ten Marines with CLR-17 and 7th Engineer Support Battalion spent the afternoon running with students from kindergarten through sixth grade in order to motivate and make the children’s experience more memorable.

Photo by Cpl. Laura Gauna

Marines volunteer at local elementary school

8 May 2013 | Cpl. Laura Gauna

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Marines with Combat Logistics Regiment 17 and 7th Engineer Support Battalion spent an afternoon running at La Paloma Elementary School with students during the school’s jog-a-thon, May 3, 2013.

The 10 Marine volunteers helped motivate approximately 100 kindergarten through sixth grade students.

“It’s good to support our children,” said Staff Sgt. Dushawn Powell, a licensing director with CLR-17, and a native of Milwaukee. “With me having eight kids, I especially think just getting out there helping kids is very important.”

Students shouted with excitement upon seeing Marines, firemen and police officers join them in the jog-a-thon.

“When the kids knew they were coming it was all they could talk about,” said Chad McGowgh, La Paloma Elementary School principal. “When they ran with them and encouraged them it just made their day. It gave them an opportunity to run and hangout with their heroes.”

After the run, Marines spent recess with the children playing basketball. For several Marines, the day could not have gone any better.

“Hanging with elementary kids is always fun and really rewarding,” said Staff Sgt. Justin Hensley, a data chief with Communications Company, 7th ESB, and a native of Louisville, Ky. “They are always excited to see you no matter who you are. I just had a great time with them, and I was glad to come out.”

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