9th Mission Support Command
HONOLULU – The 9th Mission Support Command Pacific Army Reserve soldiers, civilians, family members, and representatives from the National Football League joined forces Friday, Jan. 25, during a Pro Bowl Week tree planting event.
The year’s event took place at Palolo Elementary School on Oahu.
Shortly after lunch on Friday afternoon, soldiers headed approximately nine miles across town to do some "green work."
When the soldiers arrived they were greeted by the smiling faces of the students and teachers at Palolo. In addition to the 9th MSC soldiers, the NFL sent a representative from their environmental team and a player from the Denver Broncos.
First year defensive end, Ben Garland, greeted the kids before the event and then dug in with the soldiers, students and teachers to plant 20 trees.
Garland is a graduate of the Air Force Academy and first lieutenant in the Colorado National Guard. He was a perfect fit for the event and was thrilled to be there. Garland was released from his obligation at the academy to pursue football and took it upon himself to join the guard.
He was excited to be partnering with military members at the event.
‘We [NFL players] are blessed and we want to give back, we love stuff like this,” said Garland.
After planting a few trees on the humid afternoon, Garland was dripping with sweat. But he was all smiles and so were the students.
Shortly after the event started the students suddenly became interested in autographs, but not just from Garland. All of the sudden, every soldier was a celebrity too – with lines of kids around them asking for their autographs.
This year’s event was the third year the 9th MSC has participated and the second year of the partnership with the NFL.
Spec. Maverick Que, a forward observer, from the 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry brought his niece to the event to learn about tree planting with her.
“I came today to support going green, motivate the next generation, and volunteer in the community,” Que said. “This is my first year volunteering at the event; today I learned how to plant a tree.”
Que planted one tree and five other plants while he was volunteering.
About 45 minutes into the event, the 9th MSC acting commander, Col. John E. Cardwell, arrived and immediately got to work. He planted several large trees with the soldiers in addition to digging holes and spreading mulch.
At the end of the three-hour event, the Pacific Army Reserve soldier, civilians, family members, NFL representatives, and Palolo Elementary School students had planted 20 trees on the campus.
Everyone left with sweat on their brows, dirt on their boots, and smiles on their faces.