By Sgt. Aimee MillhamOctober 26, 2007
CONSTANTA, Romania -- Volunteer service members at Joint Task Force East made home a better place for 60 handicapped Romanian children.
A fresh coat of paint and some spackle went a long way when Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion - 40 headed an effort to improve the Horizon Community Service Center, a facility for handicapped children, Oct. 13 and 14.
"If I see repairs needed at home, I fix them. I treat this as if it were my home; I want it to be up to my standards," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Richard Stansbury, NMCB-40 lead builder.
The effort fell in line with one of the Seabees' JTF-E missions to conduct humanitarian civic actions projects, according to Navy Lt. Brad Coleman, officer-in-charge of NMCB-40's mission in Romania.
Volunteers from several other JTF-E units and organizations pitched in and repainted several rooms; filled in holes in the walls; and cleaned up mold that had developed behind the old paint. The Americans diligence and the quality of their work impressed the home's administrator.
"Everyone knew what they were supposed to do, and they finished everything they started," said Horizon administrator Sendruc Sorina, adding that she was moved by the fact that the volunteer coordinators thought to bring toys for the children on the last day of their endeavor.
Coleman learned of the opportunity when Seabees and U.S. Army Europe civil affairs and engineer officials with JTF-E met with the local director of social work services, who requested the manpower. Horizon provided all of the materials.
While the mission fell on a weekend, several volunteers were more than happy to be there.
"Seeing that smile on (the children's faces), that's why I do it," Stansbury said, adding that one resident, who has no family of which she is aware, stole and broke his heart. "She's just a little girl ... I have a 2-year-old daughter, you know'"
NMCB-40 will be deployed to Romania until February. Other humanitarian projects on the Seabees schedule here include work at a retirement home, a kindergarten and a medical clinic. The Seabees are also tasked with base support construction and establishing a Seabee compound for future missions in Romania, Coleman said.