Soldiers give back to community
November 18, 2011
WAIANAE, Hawaii -- Broken boards, rusted bolts and worn paint were the signs of age and deterioration that covered the bleachers of the school. Over 1,500 seats unavailable for friends, family and students to cheer for their favorite community team. Funding was available, but only for materials, the school would have to wait to repair the bleachers until more funds became available. That was the reality, until a Soldier approached the school administration and asked if there was any way they could help.
The Partnership of Ohana is a program that allows Soldiers of US Army Garrison to work with the Hawaii community, especially schools, to volunteer time for community programs. This program was able to facilitate the much needed repairs to the school's athletic field.
Soldiers of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division volunteered to spend their Veteran's day giving back to the community. More than 100 Soldiers would donate a portion of their Veteran's Day weekend to rebuilding the broken bleachers of the Nanakuli High and Intermediate School here.
"I'm honored," said Flora Nash, vice principal of the Nanakuli High and Intermediate School. "They took their day of honor to honor and support the children."
"It says a lot about the Soldiers," said 2nd Lt. Shane Weddle, the Officer in Charge of phase one, "That they would volunteer to give back to the community on their time off."
"The budget only included funding for the materials," said Nash. "The military and community allowed us to complete this project much sooner than would have been otherwise possible."
Projects such as this help Soldiers to become part of the community again after unwinding from a deployment, said Weddle.
"After talking to the Soldiers, I would say they love doing this," said Sgt. Charlie Alston, a volunteer from the 225th Brigade Support Battalion. "It gives them a chance to have a change of pace, get some fresh air and give back to the community."
Support from the community is important for the military, especially during deployments. 2nd Brigade Combat Team returned from their last deployment only months before.
"The community looked out for us, and supported us during our deployments," said Weddle. "It's nice to give back some of that support now."
Broken boards, rusted bolts and worn paint were once part of the school's stadium. Sturdy lumber, shiny steel bolts and fresh paint now provide seating for more than 5,000 people to enjoy this community asset in comfort.