Group effort beautifies Navy Hale Keiki School

More than 100 volunteers from the Navy, Air Force, Home Depot and Navy Hale Keiki School (NHKS) gathered on Jan. 22 for NHKS's Beautification Day. Home Depot donated $10,000 to assist volunteers with supplies and volunteers worked into the evening to ensure the students would be able to enjoy their school's new look when they arrived for classes on Monday. Photo courtesy of NHKS

More than 100 volunteers from the Navy, Air Force, Home Depot and Navy Hale Keiki School (NHKS) gathered on Jan. 22 for NHKS's Beautification Day. Home Depot donated $10,000 to assist volunteers with supplies and volunteers worked into the evening to ensure the students would be able to enjoy their school's new look when they arrived for classes on Monday. Photo courtesy of NHKS

Brister Thomas

Contributing Writer

Navy Hale Keiki School (NHKS) received a detailed facelift on Jan. 22 during the school’s beautification day project.

More than 100 volunteers gathered, including those from Naval Supply Corps, Home Depot, Air Force, Radford High School students, a Kapolei boy scout troop and parents and staff from NHKS.

NHKS now has newly renovated restrooms with the latest sensor faucets, new paint and upgraded fixtures and vanities. Volunteers poured a concrete slab sidewalk, reconstructed steps to one of the modular buildings and many other additional projects. Jared Kaonohi built outside shelving as his Eagle Scout project.

“It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child, but it certainly helps if the village has assistance from the United States Navy Supply Corps, the United States Air Force, Home Depot and the Boy Scouts of America,” said Jim Murray of Fleet and Industrial Supply Center (FISC) Pearl Harbor.

“It was a great feeling to see so many people from different organizations working together on a noble cause,” said Michael Courto, a FISC postal employee, who was painting benches with some Air Force service members from the 647th Logistics Readiness Squadron (LRS).

Glenn Simcox, a former contractor, spent most of the day assembling cabinetry with contracting coworker Jose Sampayan. “The folks from Home Depot were helpful and fun to work with,” Simcox said. “I was impressed with the school grounds. I see lots of pride in ownership at Hale Keiki.”

“When I drove into the parking lot, I was stunned,” said Capt. John Polowczyk, FISC commanding officer. Polowczyk said, “As I searched for an open parking stall, I saw clusters of people industriously painting, scraping, sawing, pounding nails, cleaning, assembling cabinetry, and doing everything for the school with the exception of grading homework papers.”

“It’s as though we were doing a year’s worth of tasks in one day,” Polowczyk said.

Navy Hale Keiki regularly benefits from visits by Navy, Air Force and civilian volunteers who read to students or engage in grounds improvement projects.

“This was the first time, however, that we have tackled an endeavor of this magnitude,” said Shari Gulledge, NHKS director.

She stated that much of the project’s success was due to Home Depot, which not only fielded the largest contingent of volunteers, but also contributed $5,000 to the renovations.

Much of the work was unseen and occurred during the weeks prior to the event.

Murray explained, “Volunteers had to be coordinated, grant money had to be in place, the necessary tools and supplies had to be determined, food and drinks for volunteers had to be arranged . . . at times, the list seemed endless.”

The to-do list incorporated many elements and at the forefront was the issue of storage at the school. “The school is always short of storage space,” Gulledge stated. “Home Depot organized us and built a storage shed which cleared many of the teachers’ outside closets of school materials, opening those areas for the students’ activities.

Gulledge announced that after the work was completed, Home Depot continued their support and granted an additional $5,000 to NHKS.

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Category: News