By Ryo Isobe, FLEACT Yokosuka Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan (Oct. 8, 2016) – Ship Repair Facility and Japan Regional Maintenance Center (SRF-JRMC) celebrated Miura Shiratori-en’s 53rd anniversary with an “Open Day” festival. Shiratori-en is a local facility for individuals with disabilities which accepts both residents and outpatients.
SRF-JRMC Commanding Officer Capt. Garrett Farman and Deputy Commander Cmdr. David Dwyer were invited as distinguished guests among representatives from municipal organizations, welfare facilities, hospitals, an ombudsman agency and a local bank. The command’s volunteer team contributed by selling hot dogs and command merchandise.
“Shiratori-en is a wonderful organization,” Farman said in his remarks at the ceremony. “Your work is extremely important. We appreciate and value what you do here. SRF-JRMC is honored to be a small part of your important mission.”
SRF-JRMC has contributed to the organization for more than 50 years. The relationship between the two organizations began with a visit by a group from the command – a chief petty officer and Japanese employees – who brought stuffed animals, cake and ice cream as gifts.
Since then, the command worked with the facility for various events. Command personnel, American and Japanese alike, have taken every chance to help and contribute in events such as the annual holiday party and Open Day celebration.
“Our visit today, once again, gives us an opportunity to demonstrate the true meaning of friendship between our two countries,” Farman said. “I hope this occasion further develops this friendship.”
Due to rainy weather, Shiratori-en staff held the event indoors. The opening ceremony and musical exhibition were held in the gymnasium, and booths for contributing groups were set under the connecting corridors between buildings.
“Even though this facility has undergone a lot of changes, SRF-JRMC invariably helps us,” said Shigeyuki Asai, who manages a facility for the elderly in Kamakura under Seiwa-kai, the same organization that runs and manages Shiratori-en. “They also invite us to important events like Bon-odori or the change-of-command ceremony. SRF-JRMC has been our friend for a long time.”
After the opening ceremony, the Nagasawa Junior High School brass band played brass-band and popular tunes.
“We practiced very hard for this event,” said Hoyuko Nagahara, the brass band club teacher. “Students are happy to feel the audience’s direct response.”
Miura Shiratori-en was established as a prefectural facility under the name Nagasawa Gakuen in 1963. Through some organizational and managerial alterations, now it is managed under the “designated administrator system,” in which private sectors manage former public facilities utilizing public organizational know-how, knowledge and resources to economically and efficiently run the organizations and improve their services.