Talented Soldier builds morale in more ways than one

By Sgt. Ashton HofmeisterMay 27, 2019

Turbine Tavern
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Turbine Tavern
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Being thousands of miles from home isn't always easy. This is especially true when it comes to leaving loved ones and missing the comforts of home for an extended period of time.

While being in a deployed environment can bring lots of challenges for Soldiers, one member of Task Force Apocalypse used his skills in carpentry and construction to bring a little bit of comfort for his fellow Soldiers and gave them a chance to explore the skillset in the process.

Spc. Austin Zahara put his skills to use and constructed a small building outside of the aircraft hangars known as the "Turbine Tavern" in Afghanistan. The tavern houses a workspace for maintenance Soldiers and a tool room. The exterior of the tavern has a relaxation area with hand made benches and a newly constructed Gazebo.

"I just kind of threw something together," said Zahara, who has 10 years of experience in construction prior to serving in the Army.

The austere location wasn't allowing maintenance to be conducted in a comfortable environment, so when Zahara's leadership came to him and asked him to build something, he knew just what to do.

After using materials donated to them by the engineers of other units at the location, Apocalypse Soldiers can now carry out work in a less complicated manner.

The construction of the tavern boosted morale, because it allowed Soldiers to become involved in a new skill set and work hard as a team. Soldiers like Pfc. Dennis Wilson had a helpful role in the completion of the tavern. Wilson learned to work with a circle saw and how to do metal roofing. Another Soldier, Pvt. Horacio Almendariz has not only learned a lot from the experience, but is inspired to do more.

"I like it, I want to dabble in it a little bit," Almendariz said. "I'm thinking, my big goal in life is to make a house."

After the outstanding results of Zahara's work and influence, other Soldiers have come forward and asked him for help and advice on construction. The work has even boosted his own morale.

"It feels pretty good," Zahara said. "I mean, I'm getting recognized a lot for the work I did. People are pretty impressed, and they can see what I can do now."

Zahara is a perfect example of the thousands of talented Soldiers that are currently serving in the Army. His work, with the help of his Army team, in such harsh, austere conditions have made the Soldiers' experience more accommodating. He is proof that the Army's greatest asset is our people- intelligent and adaptable professionals.