Andersen Fire and Emergency Services honored at Upi Elementary Published March 27, 2009 By Airman 1st Class Courtney Witt 36th Wing Public Affairs ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Upi Elementary School administrators and faculty honored four representatives of Andersen Fire and Emergency Services Flight during a ceremony at Upi Elementary School March 23 for their help with Guam's 2009 Special Olympics Track and Field competition. The firefighters volunteered more than 14 hours and 20 men and women with helping set up and tear down the competition grounds and working with Upi Elementary School Students and other participants at the 33rd Annual Special Olympics held March 14 at Okkodo High School. The men and women of Andersen's fire department cheered on all contestants as they pushed through every event with a smile. "On behalf of Upi Elementary, I would like to thank [Andersen's fire department] for all their hard work and dedication they have assisted with Upi and conducting a very special Olympics," said Elias Taisipic Jr, Assistant Principal for Upi Elementary School. "We really appreciate it!" The firefighters' support to the school did not end with the Special Olympics' closing ceremonies, they saw the entire event to its completion, Rosemarie Castro, Upi Special Education Teacher said. "In the past, we have had some volunteers that would show for a short period of time and then leave," said Castro. "We never got acquainted with them. Not this year, Andersen's fire department is the first group that stayed with us the whole day and we are very appreciative about that. We would like to see more of that continue." Castro said she appreciated firefighters' selfless acts. "They gave the students a goody bag that they had prepared and that was extremely thoughtful, a first for us," she said. The gift bags contained plastic firefighting helmets, coloring books and crayons, pencils, stickers, and magnets. "We wanted to show our thanks for allowing the Andersen Firefighter's Association to be a part of this special day," said Staff Sgt. Jeffery Hazel, Noncommissioned Officer in Charge of Fire Alarm Dispatch Center. As a token of appreciation, Upi Elementary School invited the fire unit to the school's culture week to share Chamorro dishes and watch culture dancers along. Capping off the visit, the school gave the firefighters certificates of appreciation. In return the fire unit gave the school a collage of photos framed with patches and unit coin. Sergeant Hazel said it was all worth it, "I volunteered to see that all children have the opportunity to compete in athletic events. The smile on the children's faces as they were competing was priceless to see firsthand!"