Keeping Readiness with a Helping Hand
April 18, 2013
Maricao, PR- Service members assigned to the US Army Reserve-Puerto Rico are currently working in a construction project in the neighborhood of Indiera Alta, in the mountainous town of Maricao, as part of the command's Community Outreach Program.
The Army Reserve-Puerto Rico Community Outreach Program allows the troops to keep their proficiency in their engineering skills, while serving the local communities.
The troops, some of whom were deployed in recent years to the Middle East, are implementing their engineering experiences and skills, while helping the Individual, Family and Community Integral Development Institute, a non-profit organization that offers multidisciplinary services to isolated and economically depressed communities across the island of Puerto Rico.
The institute is managed by the Religious Order of the Fatima Dominican Sisters.
"It feels great to be able to help the people of Puerto Rico, while applying all the skills and experiences that I gained while mobilized. It is a great feeling," said Sgt. Josean Orengo, a Construction Engineering Supervisor assigned to the 471st Engineer Company, who was deployed to Iraq in 2004.
The construction project in Maricao consists of a cement structure of approximately 500 sq. ft., which the institute will use to expand their services to the local community.
"This has been a great blessing. On behalf of the population, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the Soldiers from the Reserve. We pray for each one of you and your families, so you can continue serving the community and the country," said Sor Virgenmina Morell, Director of the Institute.
According to the troops, they believe their contribution goes beyond the construction being completed.
"These types of projects not only stimulate the local economy, but also help us create better citizens," said Warrant Officer 2 Miguel Velazquez, a Construction Engineering Technician assigned to the 471st Engineer Company, US Army Reserve-Puerto Rico.
"It is a win-win situation. Being able to train our Soldiers, while serving the people in our communities bring the Reserve closer to them and help us in our readiness at the same time. I believe we are positively impacting the town of Maricao," said Staff Sgt. Isaias Diaz, Project Manager, who was mobilized to Afghanistan in 2010.
The Army Reserve, which celebrates its 105th anniversary on April 23, is a community-based organization with 1,215 facilities located in 701 different cities across America, and over 200,000 Soldiers living in every state and territory.