The National Museum of the Marine Corps presented a family show at the John A. Polonye Community Center in Brook Park June 11.
The NMMC-sponsored early educational outreach program is scheduled to perform at additional centers June 12-15 at 2 p.m. as part of Marine Week Cleveland.
Grade school-aged children and their families participated in an interactive and educational puppet show, followed by a presentation by Marines in historical uniforms and gear since the Corps’ birth in 1775.
An appearance was made by Chesty the bulldog, the NMMC mascot. Chesty, sporting desert camouflaged utilities, offered encouragement to audience members as they learned Marine Corps knowledge.
Gwenn Adams, the NMMC public relations chief, described the event as a means to tell the Marine Corps’ history in a relevant and family friendly way, as well as showing reciprocal support for Corps and community.
“The museum has been involved with Marine Week since the first year in Chicago, and our participation has grown each year,” said Adams. “This year, we are here to bring the history of the Corps to the people of Cleveland.“
“I live in the neighborhood, and we started seeing the signs months ago,” said Tom Trautman, a Marine veteran and Cleveland native, about Marine Week. “I’ve been watching the [website] for the schedule of events, so I could share this experience with my son.”
Adams explained the importance of educating younger generations about the sacrifices military members make to ensure the freedoms Americans have today.
“If we can educate our young people to the importance of the Marine Corps and other services, we can have a stronger future of people who understand the price and who pays the price,” said Adams.
Gunnery Sgt. Gary W. Porter Jr., the NMMC Marine section staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge and a Lawton, Okla., native, has been involved with the program for two years.
To become involved with the program, Marines must request consideration for this unique community relations role.
“My favorite part of the job is this,” Porter said in regards to the show. “This is awesome. It gets us out there to interact and to do something very few Marines get to do. You couldn’t ask for anything better than this.”
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