EXETER, CA, UNITED STATES
EXETER, California – There are horses, cows, wild animals and open grassland Monday, May 23. It’s so hot that the Soldiers of the 672nd Engineer Company out of Missoula, Montana worked without their long sleeve tops on to construct a square building made of concrete blocks. They wear just their brown undershirt, a hardhat and safety goggles. There’s an occasional dust whirl, and sound of moving trucks, drills, and putty knifes hitting concrete.
The work the Soldiers do is in the Kaweah Oaks Preserve located in Exeter, California, and it’s for the Sequoia Riverlands Trust (SRT).
“We’re really exited to have the Army Reserve help us build our restrooms,” said Ann Huber, Stewardship Director for SRT. “Right now we have porta potties that serve the people who visit the preserve.”
Soldiers are not building the facility as civilians, so the Army Reserve is paying them as part of their annual training. This is part of the Innovative Readiness Training, a program that links up Army Reserve units with qualified civilian-based projects.
Huber added that having the Army Reserve construct their restrooms really helps them use their resources more wisely. It takes donations and volunteer work to help maintain the preserve because they don’t have a reliable income stream source. The little income they receive comes from ranching operations on the various preserves they run. They are a non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening California's natural and agricultural legacy.
Soldiers are getting hands on experience which helps their job in the military.
“Every time Soldiers get a chance to do hands on training they love it,” said Staff Sgt. Daniel Burns.
Burns added that Soldiers in the Reserve don’t get to utilize their military occupation as much as they would like. During drill weekend, they do more classroom work and do more role-playing.
“We don’t get to do much brick work back at our unit and pour slabs like we are doing. We’re having the opportunity to do things we don’t normally get to do back home,” said Spc. Corey Hansel.
The building will have three stalls and a storage room. There will be no running water. It’ll just be sewage tanks that will have to be pumped out, but it will last longer than a porter pottie, added Burns.
Huber said that she estimates that somewhere between 10,000 and 12,000 people visit the preserve every year. However, that doesn’t include school groups that visit or the guided field trips.
The construction of the project by the Army Reserve is set to last until June, but SRT would like to have the Army Reserve’s help again.
Huber ended with, “We would love to have the Army Reserve again. We hope to someday build an education center. We also have another preserve where we would like to build other facilities as well.”
||EXETER, CA, US
This work, Restroom Construction by Soldiers in Kaweah Oaks Preserve, by SGT Alfonso Corral, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.