Photo Information

U.S. Marines with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron (MALS) 24, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, volunteer at Ahuimanu Elementary School, Ahuimanu, Hawaii, Sept. 23, 2023. The event consisted of Polynesian dance performances, a petting zoo, games, face painting and local food and craft vendors to fundraise for the school. MALS-24 partnered with Ahuimanu Elementary School to celebrate its 50th birthday and enhance community relations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by 2nd Lt. Hannah Venables)

Photo by 2nd Lt. Hannah Venables

Marines Paint Smiles at Ahuimanu Elementary

20 Oct 2023 | Lance Cpl. Logan Beeney 1st Marine Aircraft Wing

AHUIMANU, Hawaii — U.S. Marines with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 24 (MALS-24), Marine Aircraft Group 24 (MAG-24), 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, showcased their commitment to community engagement at Ahuimanu Elementary School’s 50th birthday celebration. Marines volunteered to participate, and brought dedication and enthusiasm to the event, brightening the days of students, families, and the local community.

The annual event unfolded on September 23rd, offering an array of game booths and concessions of all kinds, each representing and fundraising for a different grade level. The event also featured a petting zoo and attendees were treated to a display of traditional Polynesian dances, including Tahitian and Samoan performances, celebrating rich cultural heritage. As families savored traditional Hawaiian cuisine from a variety of food vendors, local craft artisans showcased quality crafted goods available for purchase. The funds raised from the various stands and activities directly contribute to the school's future events.

Ahuimanu Elementary School's 50th birthday was not only about celebrating the school's history, but also served as a beacon of community togetherness, even extending an invitation to the Marine Corps Base Hawaii Ohana. MALS-24, a squadron with MAG-24, eagerly jumped at the opportunity to get off base and serve alongside Ahuimanu residents.

Marines with MALS-24 ran their own face-painting booth, adding not only designs but also smiles to the faces of the students. The Marines' participation established lasting impressions and helped strengthen the important connection between the military and neighboring communities, exemplifying the spirit of community engagement and support that is characteristic of these dedicated Marines.

Staff Sgt. Amanda Cook, the Uniformed Readiness Coordinator with MALS-24 emphasized, “MALS-24 Warriors understand the importance of strengthening ties with our local community while planting and maintaining deep roots with our neighbors in this town. We cherish every opportunity to engage with students and educators beyond the base and show our community what it means to be a Marine,” said Staff Sgt. Amanda Cook, Uniformed Readiness Coordinator with MALS-24.

“We’ve celebrated these anniversaries for as long as I can remember," said a representative from the Ahuimanu event committee. "This year's event marked a return since the pandemic, but the Marines don’t skip a beat when it comes to volunteering and participating in the festivities. It allows the students to get a glimpse into life as a Marine and gives the volunteers an opportunity to give back to their local community while on island,” they added.

Through their participation, MALS-24 not only put smiles on the faces of students but also contributed to the event's charitable efforts. This celebration, blending Hawaiian culture and the spirit of giving back, left a positive impact on all those who attended. MALS-24 expressed gratitude for this opportunity and eagerly looks forward to becoming involved in more community events in the future.