News: La Guazara school construction wraps up
Story by Sgt. Aaron Rognstad
LA GUAZARA, Dominican Republic – Three weeks ahead of schedule, the U.S. Air National Guard’s 200th and 210th RED HORSE (Rapid Engineer Deployed Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers) Squadron finished construction at the Fidelina Feliz-Matos public primary (kindergarten through eighth grade) school as part of Beyond the Horizon 2014, a three-month multinational humanitarian exercise.
Against a picturesque backdrop of lush emerald green mountains high above the port city of Barahona, airmen of the 200th and 210th RHS dug, hammered and drilled away putting the finishing touches on the small village school.
“It does my heart a lot of good to have done this,” said United States Air Force Lt. Col. Mark Shoaf, 200th RHS officer-in-charge of the project. “As well as leaving something behind, we take something with us as well and it makes us appreciate what we have in our homes. You have to put it all in perspective.”
The 200th RHS out of Port Clinton, Camp Perry and Mansfield, Ohio and 210th RHS out of Albuquerque, N.M., comprised the fifth rotation of BTH, and had the honor of pouring the final patches of pavement for the school. The addition to the school consists of a 2000-foot structure for classrooms and storage.
Along with the construction of the school, hundreds of airmen and Soldiers have been contributing to the local economy of the village through the buying of lunch and snacks.
“It feels good to help these people out and contribute to the unit’s mission,” said Senior Airman Casey Vaughn of the 200th RHS. “It’s a great mission to help these people out and interact with them. It’s a good PR (public relations) for the unit and our country.”
Rising a quick 700-plus feet above sea-level, about 20 minutes north of Baharona, the quaint agricultural village of La Guazara houses 1,200 in its general vicinity with the Feliz-Matos elementary school educating 309 of its bright young souls. With new students enrolling monthly in the school’s ranks, a new addition was much needed.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said assistant school principle Leida Feliz through the use of an interpreter. “The school, as well as the town, is very thankful to have this.”