The community of Beaufort came together to compete in the 6th annual DragonBoat Beaufort charity race June 23 at Waterfront Park in downtown Beaufort.
Marines, Sailors, friends, and families from Marine Corps Air Beaufort, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, and Naval Hospital Beaufort competed in and volunteered at the event.
“DragonBoat Beaufort is an awesome charity to contribute toward,” said Lydiah Harrell, the Single Marine Program recreation assistant. “More than that, it shows the local community that the Marines aren’t just here to make a bunch of noise, but they are a part of the community.”
The annual race is an all-volunteer run rowing competition with two goals: to support and affirm cancer survivors with a strong sense of community, physical competition, and camaraderie and raise money to help local cancer patients and their families.
“This is not the first time the Single Marine Program has entered a team in the race,” Harrell said. “Last year we had a team that placed fourth overall and had the fastest local time. I think that we could go very far with this event and would love to see it become an SMP tradition.”
The SMP team consisted of about 20 Marines and Sailors from MCAS Beaufort, MCRD Parris Island, and Naval Hospital Beaufort. Though it was difficult, the team managed to meet and practice prior to the races. There were also Marines and base personnel competing on other teams.
“Leadership Beaufort formed a team that was half leadership and half cancer survivors,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Stover, the executive officer of MCAS Beaufort. “We placed second in our division; which was for cancer survivors. I also saw the SMP team and they looked really good out there on the water.”
According to their website, the Single Marine Program exists to improve the Quality of Life for single Marines and Sailors, single parents and geographical bachelors. They arrange trips and events to get the single Marines out of the barracks and involved in the community.
“I would encourage Marines to get connected to SMP or the volunteer coordinator with Marine Corps Community Services,” Stover said. “They really do a good job of getting Marines plugged into the community. It’s great to see the Marines doing anything out in the community, whether it be volunteering or taking part in the events themselves. Of course it makes me proud, but even more so, it shows that the Marines care about where they live and where they work. It’s not just a job for them, it’s a way of life for the Marines to help those that need help.”