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News | May 24, 2019

DCMA engineer volunteers for humanitarian project

By Susan Mullen-Perez DCMA Raytheon Tewksbury

The Defense Contract Management Agency’s Fiscal Year 2019 Strategic Plan Goal 5 focuses on how the agency recruits, trains, equips and grows its workforce. One of the ways DCMA Raytheon Tewksbury develops an engaged workforce is by empowering employees to volunteer.

Matthew Marino, an engineer at DCMA Raytheon Tewksbury, offered to help his wife, Jennifer, by participating in a humanitarian medical mission in Nicaragua from March 2-7. Marino’s wife is a physician assistant who also enjoys volunteering. Marino and his wife were part of a group of 30 volunteers who went to the country to provide health care.

“My job was at the intake station,” said Marino. “I was the coordinator assigned to smooth the flow of patients and make sure their medical needs were communicated,” he said.

Marino was the only person on the trip who did not have a medical background, but he volunteered to assist because he wanted to help the villagers, and he had never volunteered in another country. The group helped approximately 500 patients in five days.

“Upon arrival, our group was faced with extremely hot weather and, because this wasn’t a tourist spot, none of the comforts that we enjoy at home were provided,” said Marino. “The bed was a cot with a tarp as the mattress. There was a small sink for the group to use. However, there were no fans and dust was everywhere. There was so much dust that some of the locals wore face masks to protect their respiratory system.”

According to Marino, a lot of the patients had kidney failure because they did not drink enough clean water due to its lack of availability and lack of sanitary conditions.

“They are also not aware of how important hydrating with non-caloric liquids is for their health as there is little education on this,” said Marino.

Marino’s team helped the villagers with their physical ailments and also screened them for mental health issues, including depression.

Marino said he would never forget his trip to Nicaragua.

“It was an eye-opening experience,” he said. “We experienced many realities. For many families, raising a pig is used for a savings account, and a television is a necessity and their way of staying connected to the world. Running water and basic hygiene are scare, small luxuries that may be taken for granted in other parts of the world.”

Army Col. Robert Ralston, DCMA Raytheon Tewksbury’s commander, said Marino is making a difference on the job as an engineer as well as outside of his position by volunteering in his spare time. He said employees hone their team building, presentation and facilitation skills by volunteering.

“Employees who volunteer their time both inside and outside of the contract management office to charitable causes, such as Matt’s undertaking, showcases the dedication to being a well-rounded and compassionate person,” said Ralston.

“Not only is Matt making a difference in his heart, but also in the soul of a stranger that he may never see again. He knows the impact of the time spent with these villagers can make the difference of lifetime. This is only one example of the empowered and engaged workforce at DCMA Raytheon Tewksbury.”