Okinawa Times wrote that several young U.S. service members belonging to Camp Foster and other U.S. bases in Okinawa have been working as crossing guards for children walking to elementary school in Chatan in the morning. According to the paper, the service members have been involved in the activity since last June. They reportedly began to work as crossing guards in response to a recommendation from a Japanese employee at the camp that they should do something to contribute to the local community. The service members work as crossing guards at a crosswalk near the school for an hour starting at around 7:30 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday.
The local community had been concerned about ensuring that children can commute to school safely because their route has heavy traffic and vehicles, including those of U.S. military personnel, drive at high speed. According to the Okinawa Times, one of the service members involved in the volunteer activity participates almost every morning. Although he does not speak Japanese, he exchanges smiles and greetings of “ohayo gozaimasu” (good morning) with the children.
The leader of a residents’ association expressed his appreciation by saying that the community is home to many elderly citizens and they are grateful that the U.S. volunteers always work as crossing guards regardless of the weather. A woman whose grandchild commutes to a nearby kindergarten also expressed gratitude by saying that the service members are working hard.