Home on the Reservation: Training for a Good Cause
September 18, 2012
GALLUP, N.M.--What do you get when you take a small vertical engineer company from New England and send them west to New Mexico? The answer is houses built for impoverished families on the Navajo Reservation.
On September 1, 2012, Soldiers of 2nd Platoon, 716th Engineer Company, 368th Engineer Battalion, 302nd Maneuver Enhancenent Brigade, left the comforts of their homestation in Somersworth, N.H., for their two-week annual training here.
Their mission was to complete three modular homes destined for impoverished families living on the reservation. With a mere two weeks to get the job done, the 21-member crew, under the supervision and watchful eye of Sgt. Clinton Carter, worked diligently and in high spirits to make it happen.
In the end, they passed with flying colors.
For the first house, they completed framing, plumbing and electrical.
For the second house, sheet-rock and plumbing done.
For the third house, completed installation of the flooring.
In addition, a three-man detail was tasked and successfully completed the final carpentry of what was known as 'House 200', the 200th house later donated to an impoverishd family by Southwest Indian Foundation.
Final works on House 200 included finishing the flooring, constructing a deck and installing cabinets.
The 716th also had an opportunity to meet the family of House 200, a moment relished by the Army Strong Soldiers as a rewarding experience for them on many levels. The training opportunity here not only emphasized real world skills, but also gave them a chance to see how their work directly benefits the local community.
The crew also took time out to learn and appreciate a new culture, as they immersed themselves in the Navajo's unique way of life during their short stay here.
The experience was certainly a win-win for everyone, as 716th Soldiers received excellent training and a local family received a new home as a result.
SWIF is a non-profit organization and has a mission to "lessen poverty and despair among the Native Americans in the Southwestern United States."