Naval Air Station Lemoore hosted a community cleanup morning on Sept. 16, aimed at both beautifying the base and bringing awareness to suicide prevention efforts in the community. 

What began last February as an activity for Family Fitness, a class hosted by the NASL Gym and Fitness Center on Saturdays, has blossomed into an event that welcomes anyone who would like to lend a hand. 

Dubbed the NASL Base Cleanup, volunteers come out to pick up garbage while clad in purple and teal shirts, the colors symbolizing suicide prevention and awareness. World Suicide Prevention Day was Sept. 10, followed by National Suicide Prevention Week, which lasted until Sept. 16.

Members from VFA-94, VFA-97, VFA-125, FRC West, CNAUTTU and Cub Scout Pack 425 turned out this year along with individual families to comb the area for litter.

Ensign Joseph Lopez and his wife, Emily, brought their two children, ages 2 and 4, to the cleanup. Their goal was to educate them on the impact that litter has on the environment, while encouraging them to make a difference.

“We go on a lot of family walks, so it was nice to be able to help the community and clean up our Earth," Emily Lopez said. "It was such a small gesture; the least we could do. From now on, I’m carrying a grocery bag with me on walks. Every bit counts, right?”

Fleet & Family Services, the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society and the Base Chapel have also gotten involved, holding booths at both the chapel and in front of he Fleet & Family Service Center, providing interested parties with information about the resources they provide.

These services include the "Budgeting for Baby" workshop, McGruff safety kits for kids, to domestic violence prevention classes and self defense instruction. Information about suicide prevention programs that were recently hosted by the NASL Chapel like SafeTALK (Tell Ask Listen & Keep Safe) and ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) were also available.

The Lemoore Federal Fire Department was also present with a fire truck, giving children tours and teaching them about firefighting.

“It’s wonderful when you see people from different groups come together for a simple cause and showing pride in where we live," said Jen Hamer, the event coordinator. "There are a lot of entities here willing to offer so many resources for our families.”

She said her hope is that community clean up days are here to stay. The next clean up is scheduled for January 2018.

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