Sergeant Darrell Smith, with B Co., 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, helps deliver boxes of book bags and school supplies that were handed out to orphaned Iraqi children who attend Dar Al Salaam elementary school in Hit, Iraq, Nov. 22.

<b>HIT, Iraq</b> - School officials and city council members of Hit are now digging into a brighter future for hundreds of Iraqi children. A ground breaking ceremony, Nov. 22, officially marked the start of a new project to refurbish the Dar Al Salaam elementary school, the city's largest youth education facility.

"This is a great day for the people of Hit," said Capt. Devin Hammond, commander of Company B, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, who was on hand to support the city's milestone.

Captain Hammond said that the Provincial Reconstruction Team of Al Anbar, Iraq is partnering with Hit city officials to complete the school renovation project by Jan. 4. The goal of the PRT is to empower the local Government of Iraq, help accelerate the transition to Iraqi self-reliance and, in this case, to provide the children of Iraq with a better environment to further their education.
The school stands in great need of reconstruction, said 2nd Lt. Hertier Diakaban, platoon leader with B Co., 3/7 Inf.

"The roof tops and bathrooms are pretty bad," he said. "The first priority of the PRT project is to renovate those areas."

Second Lieutenant Diakaban, Capt. Hammond and other Soldiers assigned to B Co., 3/7 Inf., watched as the Dar Al Salaam school principal turned a golden shovel into the soil in front of the school grounds, initiating the first step toward project completion.

After the ceremony, city council officials handed out book bags and school supplies to 15 orphaned children who attend the elementary school.

Mohamed Mohanned, head of Hit's Security Council, invited the U.S. Soldiers back to celebrate the school's grand reopening and formal ribbon cutting ceremony once school renovations are complete.

"Our house is your house," he said to the Soldiers.

Refurbishing Dar Al Salaam is but one of many projects for PRT-Anbar. Contractors are also planning to renovate at a court house in the city of Hit by early next year.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16