BARCELONETA, PR- Brig. Gen. Dustin A. Shultz, senior federal Army officer in the Caribbean, and Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Breck, senior noncommissioned officer in the region, planted a fruit tree with students of the 4H club at the elementary school Eli Ramos Rosario, April 23, as a way to celebrate the 111th Army Reserve birthday, in direct connection with the local communities.
"It is an honor for me to be here today. Before being a general, I was a teacher. Before being a teacher, I was a member of the 4H club. Do always your best and give your best effort on everything you do," said Shultz while addressing the students.
The teachers, students and administrative personnel were very excited with Shultz' visit.
"Soldiers are a motivation for the kids. They see you as heroes and as an example to follow and we are very grateful for your presence," said Lisa Morales Rivera, the 4H club liaison at the school.
As part of the process of planting the fruit tree, Allan Iribarren, a 4H club agronomist, explained the importance taking special care of the tree. Iribarren also reflected over the presence of the Soldiers.
"The importance of this moment is to show the citizens and the kids how the Soldiers contribute to the development of the community and how they work to keep the peace and democracy that all enjoy," said Iribarren.
Shultz' participation of this community event showcases how the Army Reserve, as the largest federal U.S. Army command in the Caribbean, assumes its social responsibility with local communities and its commitment to sound environmental stewardship.
The U.S. Army Reserve in Puerto Rico is leader in environmental protection. For example, the Army Reserve installation of Fort Buchanan is a Net Zero Water Pilot installation that has been implementing many water conservation initiatives such as low water devices, well water irrigation systems, rainwater harvesting systems and the repair of the entire potable water distribution system, among many other initiatives.
"We must support initiatives like this here today, so we can keep a healthy environment, while we accomplish our mission, always being sensible to effective environment protection measures," added Shultz.