Story and photos by D.C. Smith, Hawaii Region Public Affairs
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (Jan. 10, 2011)
- What can 5 cents buy you these days? Well, if you were one of the students at Aliamanu Elementary School and attended the sixth Annual Nickel Fair Fundraiser for the restoration of the Arizona Memorial Visitor Center, it could get you some time to play any one of several games. Aliamanu Elementary is located near Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
During the event, selected classrooms were able to attend and participate in games while donating to a good cause. Sailors assigned to the USS Chosin (CG-65) and the Center for Information Dominance Learning Site, Hawaii, found this event to be perfect for a moment to get away from the day-to-day work normally experienced and give back to the community. IT2 Earnest King assigned to the Chosin said he loved spending time with the children while he manned Superman, one of the popular games. Throughout the daylong event, held on the basketball court, you could hear music playing in the background and children from all grades playing and bonding as they competed with one another. Many of the Sailors were able to get into the thrill of the moment as they assisted the younger players who needed a bit of encouragement to get involved with some of the games.
Chaplain Mark Hughes of the Chosin mentioned, “Our Sailors are working very hard every day during dry dock period. Volunteering to support the Nickel Fair gave them a wonderful chance to play and have fun with the children.” Hughes continued to say, “It was good for the children to know Navy supports them and restorative for the Sailors.” This year’s event also had Navy leadership deeply involved, with hands-on participation as Fire Control Master Chief Brett Hudson took it for the team, volunteering to sit in the dunk tank while children took their best aim.
The Nickel Fair has, through the years, been an opportunity for military and the local community alike to see how important it is to work together. When asked what is it like to give back to your community while serving your country, Alex Owens, Naval Religious Program Specialist (RPSA) of the Chosin said, “Today is a perfect example of why I wanted to be a Naval Religious Program Specialist. To see Sailors able to give back to the community, but also to see the community give back to our Sailors. Working with the kids today allows us time to have fun and remember why we all joined the Navy.” Within a very short period of time many children and Sailors made new friends and enjoyed themselves at the same time.
The organizing committee responsible for this year’s event included Steve Miyasato, student council advisor; Leilani Reyes, Parent Community Networking coordinator; Ross Takanaka and Ashley Taguma, physical education teachers; and Student Council members who helped organize and assist with the games. Reyes stated, “This is our best one yet! We have already raised close to $10,000 over the past six years.”
Commenting on the success of the fair, Katelynn Lloyd, Student Community Council member, said, “All the kids had a great time supporting our event today and think today’s Nickel Fair was a great success in support of the Arizona Memorial Fund.”
Sometimes the students have a teacher, administrator or friend in mind to add to the day’s events and Denise Ullery, library paraprofessional tutor, was more than obliged to assist in making the children more involved in the fundraising event.
Ullery volunteered to be “dunked” in the name of fun. She said, Always a great feeling to help out the Arizona Memorial, along with making the kids happy by trying to dunk me! It is a win-win situation for all involved. As so many people were involved in the event in support of the Arizona Memorial Visitor Center, Steven Miyasato, Aliamanu Student Council advisor would like to thank everyone who contributed. Their generosity has helped honor servicemen who gave so much.” Miyasato also teaches Gifted and Talented students. For more information, visit www.pearlharbormemorial.com, the Pearl Harbor Memorial Fund.