Marines play their part in sending the Pro Bowl packing
HONOLULU — Hundreds of volunteers from Marine Corps Base Hawaii made their presence felt Feb. 8 during what could be Hawaii’s final farewell to the National Football League Pro Bowl after hosting the event for 30 years.
Marines and sailors played a vital role in ensuring the 49,958 in attendance were privy to an all-star game for the ages. The volunteers filled the void as security guards, explosives trackers and even helping with the opening ceremony and coin toss.
Staff Sgt. Darin Cleveringa, chief trainer for MCB Hawaii’s K-9 Unit, along with four of his Marines, helped keep the game secure from potential explosive threats.
Cleveringa said he, his Marines and their four working dogs spent the day sweeping small vehicles and packages to ensure no explosives could get into the stadium.
Gunnery Sgt. Carlos A. Martinez, the company gunny for the Wounded Warriors Detachment Hawaii, joined other service members from the Air Force, Navy and Army to represent the Armed Forces during the opening coin toss.
Martinez, a Purple Heart recipient and Chicago native, came here in November from 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion in Camp Lejeune, N.C., to recover from various wounds he received while deployed four times from 2003 to 2007.
Martinez said he felt honored to represent the Marine Corps and take part in the coin toss in front of the other 23 Marines and sailors from the Wounded Warriors Company.
The National Football Conference defeated the American Football Conference 30-21 behind two highlight-reel touchdown receptions by Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald Jr. Fitzgerald was awarded the game’s Most Valuable Player.
// By Lance Cpl. Cristina Noelia Gil
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