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News | Oct. 13, 2017

Asakura Disaster Relief

By Lt. Peter Yagel, Region Legal Service Office Japan

Last month, Legalman 2nd Class Bridget Lawrence, Legalman 2nd Class Justin Tisdale and Seaman Tomi Waters -- along with 95 other members of the Commander, Fleet Activities Sasebo (CFAS) community -- drove three hours to Asakura, Fukuoka, Japan to help clean up homes damaged by recent mudslides. Led by representatives from the CFAS religious ministries and community relations department (CFAS COMREL), these Sailors lent a helping hand to Japanese neighbors who lost homes, personal possessions and loved ones during the significant natural disaster.

Lawrence, Tisdale and Waters work in the Sasebo branch of Region Legal Service Office (RLSO) Japan. Upon arrival at the clean-up site, they were shocked by the degree of devastation from the mudslides -- which had flattened entire homes -- and were eager to do their part.

"It was a humbling experience and complete honor to be able to assist the beautiful people that were affected by the mudslides," said Tisdale, who provides direct legal support to the CFAS commanding and 27 tenant commands.

After their initial shock, they went right to work shoveling dirt, moving debris and combing the remains of many homes for valuable possessions.

"It was very heart-warming to see Sailors, contractors, dependents and Japanese locals working together to assist in recovering personal possessions and property," said Waters, who works as a law clerk and provides legal assistance to more than 1,700 clients.

It was back-breaking work on a very hot and humid day, but after eight hours of hard labor, the team was able to make considerable progress in putting the lives of many afflicted individuals back on track.

"Legalman 2nd Class Lawrence, Legalman 2nd Class Tisdale and Seaman Waters have an extremely challenging day job in a tough environment," said RLSO Japan Commanding Officer Capt. Dom Flatt. "Their work in Fukuoka is just one example of their grit, determination and willingness to go the extra mile. All of us at RLSO Japan are inspired by their commitment to our Japanese hosts and neighbors and proud to serve alongside them."
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