For Immediate Release — May 12, 2010 | Pacific
Charles Hoff: DoDDS Pacific, Public Affairs Officer | 080-2703-0632
IWAKUNI, JAPAN — May 12, 2010 — Sandra S. Alfier, a second-grade elementary school teacher at MC Perry Elementary School on Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, died suddenly Sunday on Oshima Island in the Yamaguchi Prefecture.
The incident occurred during a scuba diving lesson. Alfier fell ill during the ascent to the surface and was rushed to shore where life-saving measures were attempted by dive instructors and emergency responders. Alfier was transferred by ambulance to Towa hospital where she was pronounced dead at 12:43 p.m.
School officials said grief counselors have been on site to support children, parents and staff coping with the news. Services are also available from the base chaplain and support professionals.
Alfier, a native of Trenton, N.J., started her federal service as a secretary in 1982, but her career inspiring and teaching children began by leading Girl Scout troops, coaching softball teams and tutoring students in her free time.
Alfier first started with DoDEA in 1992 as a substitute teacher at Geilenkirchen ES located in Germany. In 2004, she was hired as a full-time elementary school teacher at Sembach ES also in Germany before transferring to MC Perry ES during the summer of 2009. She specialized in special education and earned teaching degrees in 2003 and 2006.
“Never afraid of adventure, she embraced different cultures; she spent a majority of her adult life overseas pursuing her life-long dreams such as scuba diving,” wrote her daughter Amy Hayes.
“Sandy was a great friend to the air station, and she was constantly involved in community activities,” wrote MCAS Iwakuni Commander Col. Michael O’Halloran. “All young children who spent time with Sandy now carry with them the legacy of her mentorship and will remember her and her teachings for the rest of their lives.”
Alfier is survived by her daughter Amy, son-in-law Joseph and grandson Billy Hayes. A memorial service is scheduled for Friday at 3:30 p.m. in the Base Chapel.