Iraqi water-pump workers visit Q-West
November 9, 2009
CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION Q-WEST, Iraq - A group of Iraqis working at the Al-Qayyarah pump house attended a luncheon in their honor at the dining facility here, Nov. 2.
Col. Larry Phelps, the 15th Sustainment Brigade commander and Greenville, Ala., native, presented a plaque to the workers and said that it was a small "thank you."
U.S. Soldiers and the Iraqi workers got to know each other speaking through an interpreter.
"Our goal is to bring water to Q-West," pump foreman Abdullah Ahmed said.
According to Capt. John Sutterfield, a Midway, Ga., native and public works director, the Al-Qayyarah pump house recently averaged 800,000 gallons of water pumped daily.
He also explained that the Directorate of Public Works oversees major repairs using contractors while the workers at the luncheon take care of day-to-day operations and maintenance.
"No pump house - no Q-West. That's the truth," Phelps said summarizing the importance of the workers' jobs.
Phelps also explained what his thoughts were when he first saw the pumps.
"It didn't impress me like the first time I saw the Empire State building ... or the Golden Gate bridge," he said explaining what the structures were as he went.
"It impressed me because it works well with what you've got."
Some of the workers said that they were grateful to be invited to the luncheon.
"[When someone does a good job], you invite them to eat bread with you," Subaa Khamees, an assistant manager for an Iraqi engineering company said.
"I would prefer that I cook for you, that's our tradition," Phelps told the workers.
"There are many folks who think our cultures are different, but really they're not."
Phelps explained that the two cultures were alike in that one only invites another to their home to eat if one likes the other and wants to be friends.
"We really appreciate you guys today and hope you come down to the pump house," Naif Dhahy, the pump house manager, told Phelps.