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    Multinational engineers help build sustainable community

    Multinational engineers help build sustainable community

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Michael Beck | The South Dakota Air National Guard’s Master Sgt. Lance Dyer, NCO in charge, of the...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Michael Beck 

    129th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    PINE RIDGE INDIAN RESERVATION, S.D. – U.S. Airmen and Denmark soldiers are working to build a solar panel structure to help create a sustainable community for area residents of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation June 6-20.

    The structure is being built at the Thunder Valley Community Development Center near Porcupine by engineers of the South Dakota Air National Guard’s 114th Fighter Wing, of Sioux Falls, and the Denmark army as a part of the Golden Coyote training exercise.

    “As we learn more about the Thunder Valley community project and their vision for a sustainable community for tribal members, we are excited to be a part of this building project,” said Maj. Jody Page, operations officer for the 114th’s Civil Engineer Squadron.

    Engineers from the two groups are working on the project daily, doing site preparation, pouring footings and constructing a classroom.

    “We average 10 to 12 people a day working on the project,” said Maj. Todd Mergen, engineer projects officer for the 114th CES. “We have some equipment operators doing site work, and our engineers are building a 1,760 square-foot, covered outdoor classroom and solar panel support structure.”

    Nick Tilson, the executive director of Thunder Valley, reached out to the state Office of Tribal Relations to make this project become a reality, said Andrew Iron Shell, community engagement coordinator.

    “That is how we connected with the National Guard,” said Iron Shell. “It’s great having this support to bring this vision to life.”

    The project not only benefits local community members but the engineers as well.

    “Working with organizations like this allows us to complete our training goals but also provide a benefit to Thunder Valley,” said Page.

    This solar panel structure will be connected between two buildings, which will provide power and also serve as a canopy for an outdoor classroom.

    “I teach two academic and one hands-on class in workforce development and sustainable construction,” said Lenny Lone Hill, construction coordinator and teacher for the community. “We are trying to create a self-help model, in which future homeowners help build their own houses, reducing costs to them and giving them instant equity.”

    Before the vision of Thunder Valley is complete, the community will become self-sustainable and will include: Houses, retail spaces, community gardens, educational facilities and an emergency youth shelter.

    A groundbreaking ceremony for these future projects is scheduled to take place at the Thunder Valley Community Development Center on June 22 at 10 a.m.



    Date Taken: 06.13.2015
    Date Posted: 06.13.2015 13:13
    Story ID: 166555
    Location: PORCUPINE, SD, US 
    Hometown: SIOUX FALLS, SD, US

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