LIVORNO, Italy - Crates once used for ammunition have found new life as Airmen from the 731st Munitions Squadron built a recreational space with the repurposed wood.
Work on the Soldier Airman Center began last year and the recreation room recently opened. It was the creative idea of Air Force Staff Sgt. Kathleen Winters to take advantage of free material – using wood no longer fit for operations.
“We were able to capitalize on using our own recycled material to build the bar and apply to the walls around the bar area,” Winter said. “COVID-19 fueled our motivation to get a social wellness center completed, but at the same time slowed our efforts down due to the need of working around some limiting factors such as acquiring needed material from local stores.”
A handful of fellow Airmen refurbished the center, who devoted more than 250 hours to the project, housed in a building that once was a restaurant. The room features a billiard table, table tennis and a large television with video games.
“This project was a great way to bring the unaccompanied Airmen and Soldiers assigned to Camp Darby together,” Winters said.
Col. Matthew Gomlak, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Italy attended the Aug. 5 ribbon cutting ceremony.
“I am so proud of all the hard work and dedication you all put into this project, the space is yours,” Gomlak said. “Maintain it and have fun here.”
A designated area for socializing came about amid COVID-19. Single service members at the Darby Military Community worked split shifts and had less freedom of movement. The need of a space to relieve stress in a homelike homier space became a necessity, said Robert Chartier, Deputy Garrison Manager.
“This room is exclusively dedicated to single service members providing them a space to rest, relax and enjoy company of fellow service members,” Chartier said.
Since 1956, both Airmen and Soldiers have been assigned to Camp Darby. Air Force Lt. Col. Daniel Brady, Commander, 731st Munitions Squadron, said the room’s creation is a great community initiative that brings valued service members together with a space that they can call their own.
“They have truly created a special venue that upholds the joint legacy of Camp Darby with this top-notch facility that will support the community for years to come,” Brady said.