Perryville Marine training to provide security to ambassadors

A young man who spent five years in the Perryville Police Department's outreach program is preparing to depart for training to become part of a Marine Corps security team designated to protect the U.S. ambassador to Japan.

Pfc. Joseph Immel, who spent five years in the outreach program, gave a report on the program's activities during March to the Perryville mayor and commissioners during their meeting Tuesday.

Mayor Jim Eberhardt asked the 18-year-old, who was wearing his Marine uniform, what his future plans are.

Immel, a 2013 graduate of Perryville High School who has spent about a year in the Marines, said he had completed his first round of training and would soon be leaving for Quantico, Va., for his security training.

He said he had been "hand selected" by the commandant of the Marine Corps for the training program. He said he will spend three to five months in training and will spend three years in Okinawa, Japan.

Immel also gave credit to the outreach program, which is open to youths between the ages of 8 and 18.

"When I first arrived, I was bad," he said. "I basically thought I was untouchable."

He said the services and people available through the outreach program "helped me calm down and helped control my anger throughout the years."

Immel said later that he had completed training as a combat noncommissioned officer, and while at Quantico will train to be a civil affairs NCO.

He said he will be part of the team providing security to the U.S. ambassador as well as the Japanese ambassador to the U.S. when they visit his area.

Immel said via text message that his duties will include ensuring his fellow marines "look good" and the area is secure for the ambassadors' visit.

The mayor and Commissioners Michelle Linkey, Raymond Ryan III and Alan Fox shook Immel's hand and thanked him for his service. Commissioner Barbara Brown was absent Tuesday.

Volunteers thanked

While Perryville residents Robert and Betty Lay were not at Tuesday's meeting, the mayor thanked them for their years of service on the town's Election Board.

The Lays recently retired from the board – Robert had served since 1996 and Betty since 2009.

Eberhardt thanked the Lays for volunteering for the Election Board and acknowledged the other volunteers who make up various town boards. He also presented plaques meant for the Lays.

"It is volunteers like the Lays who help this community function," he said.

The commissioners voted 4-0 later in the meeting to appoint Sheron Alexander to an alternate position on the Election Board.

Tree planting

The commissioners and mayor voted 4-0 in favor of a grant agreement with American Forests, a Washington, D.C.-based conservation group dedicated to protecting and expanding forests across the country by planting trees, according to the organization's website.

American Forests' volunteers plan to plant trees on a strip of town property off Broad Street that serves as a rear entrance to the Perry Point VA Medical Center campus.

The volunteers would be there April 18, Town Administrator Denise Breder said, and working through early May.

Funding for the project comes from IKEA, according to Eberhardt.

Breder stressed that the volunteers would not be covered by the town's insurance if they are injured while working, but they would sing a waiver "ahead of time;" the waivers have been approved by Fred Sussman, the town's attorney.

"The waiver's fine," Sussman said. "I would just caution that there should be no volunteers under the age of 18."

Brown spoke in favor of the project when it came up during the town's March 18 work session. She saw the trees as a way to prevent drivers from going down the strip to the wooded areas

"I've been dying to get some money to put some trees back there to stop automobiles from going back in there," she said.

Challenger league tournament

The commissioners and mayor voted 4-0 to make the town's Community Park available to host an upcoming regional Challenger Division Little League Tournament.

The tournament is scheduled for June; the Challenger Division serves special-needs children who want to play Little League baseball.

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