CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Horses roamed the dew covered corral and grazed on alfalfa in the crisp morning air while Marines gathered old rakes and worn wheelbarrows as care takers for the steeds of Stepp Stables here April 17.
Marines from the Single Marine Program here volunteered to sweep and remove horse manure from the barn, stall and corral areas of the stables.
“We’re working with a short staff,” said Grace Lara, the Stepp Stables manager here. “We rely on our volunteers to help us.”
The Single Marine Program gives Marines the opportunity to volunteer with recreational organizations that interest them.
“I heard about volunteering here through the Single Marines Program,” said Lance Cpl. Christopher Freel. “As soon as I heard about it, I knew it was something I wanted to do.”
Freel began riding at 2-years-old and is a flight line mechanic with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469 here.
“Getting everything done to help (the Stepp Stables) in their effort to have cheaper stalls for veterans and better living conditions for the horses is fulfilling,” Freel said.
“For some volunteers, it gives them a taste of home,” said Lara.
Lance Cpl. Kathryn Howard grew up caring for horses on her parent’s ranch in Minnesota and said it’s almost been a year since she’s been home.
“It felt really good to be around horses and it reminds me of everything I used to do before the Marine Corps,” said Howard, photographer with Headquarters and Support Battalion’s Combat Camera here.
“If anybody wants to come out it’s a good way to unwind, especially if you’re into horses,” Freel said.
For more information on the Single Marine Program, visit mccscp.com/smp
and to learn more about the Stepp Stables, go to mccscp.com/stables
Contact Cpl. Sarah Wolff-Diaz at firstname.lastname@example.org