ST. LOUIS --
Throughout Marine Week 2011 Marines with 3rd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Marine Week, volunteered around the greater St. Louis area cleaning up parks, visiting veterans, and assisting in blood and food drives.
Taking on a different challenge, Marines teamed with 60 volunteers from the Multiple Sclerosis Society in the society’s largest project to date; making Kim Dauwalter’s house and farm wheelchair accessible.
Dauwalter suffers from MS an autoimmune disease that targets the central nervous system. People who suffer from MS can have many symptoms such as, memory loss, loss of feeling in their limbs, muscle spasms, double vision, and problems with coordination and making small movements.
Due to the various symptoms, MS can make it very difficult to live a normal life.
“Today we are doing a ‘make a difference day’ project, where we go to someone’s home and assist them with things they aren’t capable to do themselves,” said Amanda Haught the volunteer community outreach coordinator, MS Society.
Marines worked on several projects around Dauwalter’s home and farm. They dug-up and set new fence posts, built a chicken coop, planted pumpkins and reinforced buildings around the farm to ensure they will last years to come.
“We are working with the MS Society to Make Kim’s house and farm more accessible so that she can make this a farm of her own without asking someone to help,” said Lance Cpl. Daniel Richardson, a squad automatic rifleman with I Company, 3/24.
Before this project, Dauwalter called family and friends to come and work on the farm. Now, with the help of the Marines and the MS society volunteers, she will be able to maintain her farm without assistance.
“I had a deep respect for the Marines to start with,” said Dauwalter. “For them to take time out of their day to help me, I don’t even know how to describe how I feel.”
The Marines participating in Marine Week St. Louis have shown St Louisans what makes the Corps great with displays, demonstrations and most importantly the hard work of the participating Marines and their true desire to make the city a better place.
“It feels good to help people in need and make a difference,” said Richardson.