By Staff Sgt. Peter Ford, MND-B PAOApril 10, 2009
BAGHDAD - Coalition forces, school officials and students took part in a ceremony April 5, at Michal al-Hurria, a small school in Abu Ghraib, to honor the hard work of Coalition forces who were instrumental in renovating the school.
"The building was constructed in 1970 and has not received any repairs or upgrades since its opening," said a local spokesman for the school principal.
According to the school spokesman, the pipes were leaky and the wires were frayed, although the building was in desperate need of repair, hopes for the renovation remained.
"Teachers have tried for many years to get the school repaired and many have made promises but none have kept their word but the CF," said the spokesman.
Standing in front of the school, the spokesman for the principal thanked the CF and said they demonstrated dedication and put it into action. He said the needs of the school were tremendous; the CF made a promise and they delivered.
"The school was in pretty bad shape," said Capt. Jackie Manton, a native of Baton Rouge, La., officer in charge of Task Force Iron Paxton, of the 225th Engineer Brigade. "Some of the things replaced were sewer pipes, broken windows, water pumps, water coolers, electrical sockets and switches. Generators and window-type air conditioners were also added," he said.
The spokesman said the school had never witnessed a renovation program. The renovation has made the staff and students very happy and they owe their deepest gratitude to all those involved in the process.
"The renovation of the school has motivated us and given us the confidence to keep it up," added another Iraqi school teacher.
While making some final inspections on the building, Manton claims that although a majority of the renovations have been completed there are still a few things that need to be done, such as a playground for the kids. "When the 225th Eng. Brigade's name is put on something we want to make sure it is done right," he said.
Remaining true to their word, the CF built a foundation of trust with a small community in Abu Ghraib, where renovation programs are not just promises. Now children can safely go to school and get an education.