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Safety presentation inspires Marines to make good choices

Pfc. John Robbart III

Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

In preparation for the Marine Corps 101 most critical days of the year, Camp Pendleton leaders hosted two days worth of safety briefs with inspirational guests at the base theater, May 18 and 19.

The event, mandated by Headquarters Marine Corps, had a main purpose to promote safety awareness and encourage Marines to make good decisions during Summer-time activities that could prevent needless injuries or death.

“The 101 critical days of summer, spanning this year from May 17, to Labor Day, have been recognized by the Department of Defense as one of the most hazardous times of the year,” said Daniel Hernandez, operations and training chief, Base Safety. “Our mission is to reach out and make an impact on base residents. If they share the information they’ve learned – we’ve accomplished something.”

During the two days of briefs, four sessions were held to accommodate as much Marines and sailors as possible. Attendees heard from a variety of speakers that included senior leadership, safety experts and victims of mishaps.

One guest that captivated the audience was Mark L. Manion, a victim of a drunk-driving incident.

“I wanted to come and speak to the Marines to help them make better choices,” said Manion, who is permanently disabled and lost his best friend to the accident. “I want them to understand with drunk driving they could kill someone, or be killed.”

Manion has created an organization called “Mark Speaks Out” that has allowed him to travel the country for the past 15 years speaking, motivating, and educating listeners about his circumstance.

“I like how Manion told his story and didn’t ask for anyone to feel sorry for him,” said Pfc. Isaac K. Robertson, postal clerk, Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. “It made me really appreciate his story. The entire brief was very informative,” he added.

Although most Marines are told every Friday before liberty to make wise decisions, the 101 Critical Days of Summer safety session really helped to reinforce things Marines often get complacent about, said Hernandez.

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