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Young Marines Return ‘Home’ to Serve Local Community

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Ravenna – The Chesty Puller Young Marines unit recently moved back to Ravenna from Cuyahoga Falls, and the organization is spreading the word they’ve returned ‘home’ and are re-engaged with the local community.
The Young Marines is a youth education and service program for boys and girls, ages 8 through completion of high school. A national organization, the Young Marines promotes the mental, moral, and physical development of its members. The program focuses on character-building and leadership, and promotes a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. The Young Marines is the focal point for the U.S. Marine Corps’ Youth Drug Demand Reduction efforts.
The Chesty Puller Young Marines has been a unit for 21 years, previously called the Ravenna Young Marines. The unit was founded in  October 1990. The 44th Recruit Platoon is currently completing their training. The local unit is named after Lieutenant General Lewis Burwell (Chesty) Puller, the most decorated Marine in the history of the Marine Corps, who saw combat in the years between the World Wars, World War II, and the Korean War.
The Chesty Pullers meet regularly on Tuesday nights, 6:30-9 p.m. at the Ravenna VFW post (just south of TSC), under the command of Ronald L. Pownall. Unit staff member Jamie Hilverding says there are currently 45 youth enrolled in the unit with four members in the Crestwood school system and four in the Streetsboro school system.
The unit recently marched in the Mantua Potato Festival and Ravenna Balloon-A-Fair parades. Several of the local Young Marines help the American Legion Post in Mantua with the flag duties at Crestwood’s home football games.

Upcoming events at various locations include:
October 13: 8th Annual Young Marine Ball
November 11:    Western Reserve Veteran’s Ceremony
December 19-22: Toys For Tots (distributing the toys collected over the next three months)
November 3:    Night at the Races Fundraiser
November 11:    Western Reserve Veteran’s Ceremony

In observance of September 11, the unit participated in the Summit County Stand Down, collecting enough items to create 500 packages for veterans this year.  “Each year, the number of veterans we serve at the Stand Down increases by approximately 10-15 percent,” Hilverding said. “ Last year, we provided supplies for 400 veterans.”
Other unit activities throughout the year include CPR training, campouts, historical encampments, flag-folding and flag retirement ceremonies, watercraft safety courses, clean-up days, Memorial Day and Flag Day ceremonies.
For more information, see www.chestypulleryoungmarines.com or  youngmarines.com. Or contact Recruiting Officer Katie Haring at 330-322-7275 (email: cpympaymaster@neo.rr.com).

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Estelle R. Brown is a freelance writer who lives in Garrettsville with her family. She has written and taken photos for newspapers, magazines and e-zines for the past 25 years. She also enjoys working on public relations projects, including web content, newsletters, posters, brochures, press releases, and other creative endeavors. She enjoys writing compelling stories about her community as a contributing reporter for the Villager.