By 2nd Lt. Carolyn K. Johnson, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment CommandSeptember 21, 2012
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii --Since its move from Wheeler Army Airfield to Schofield Barracks, chaplains Col. Peter Mueller and Maj. Christopher Wilson, heads of the Chaplain Family Life Center, have been looking for ways to improve their training program, which teaches chaplains the art of counseling.
The center provides faith-based counseling for married couples, children, spouses, and teens, and to better serve his clients and train his chaplains, Wilson decided to get a little creative, by installing a one-way mirror.
With the installment of this mirror and permission from the participants, chaplains could observe counseling in real time, allowing them to sit-in on sessions without disrupting the session or making others feel uncomfortable.
Wilson initially contacted three different contractors to assist in the placement of a 3-by-7-foot mirror window. All three contractors withdrew.
The 643rd Engineer Company, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, recognizing the need and importance of this work, volunteered to assist.
"[Warrant Officer Edgar] Espiritu and I conducted a quick recon to see exactly what the scope of work consisted of," said Warrant Officer Lajuya Hackley, 643rd Eng. Co. "We knew this would be a great opportunity for the Soldiers in the 643rd to work with metal studs and interior finishings."
The Soldiers were able to practice and execute skills not normally performed on a daily basis, and give back to their local community, said Espiritu.
"Because we are the 'Never Daunted' battalion, I knew that we could do it," he said confidently.
Having the 643rd Soldiers complete this project helped cut the cost for the chapel. Instead of the chapel outsourcing to expensive civilian contractors, Soldiers were able to lend a helping hand and provide their services for free.
"The construction project was a major part of the training component and the ability to train it had a significant impact," Wilson said on the importance of the window. "Without the observation window, it would not have worked. "
The ceremonious ribbon cutting for the chapel occurred Sept. 13 at the Chaplain Family Life Center with speeches from Mueller; the 84th Eng. Bn. commander, Lt. Col. Aaron Reisinger; and garrison commander, Col. Daniel Whitney.
"When the normal avenues for providing this critical component of our Chaplain Family Life Center fell through, we turned to the professionals of the 643rd Engineer Construction Company," Mueller said while expressing his deep gratification for the Soldiers in 643rd stating that. "Not only were they able to complete the project of installing this large one way mirror ahead of schedule, they easily overcame all the obstacles that thwarted the contractors and did their work with enthusiasm and superb craftsmanship. They were simply outstanding!"