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    Alaska Air Guardsmen upgrade Latvian children’s center, change lives

    Latvia children to enjoy Alaska Air Guard renovations

    Photo By Tech. Sgt. N. Alicia Halla | RIGA, Latvia — Thirty-four Alaska Air Guardsmen from the 176th Civil Engineer...... read more read more

    RIGA, RIX, LATVIA

    08.10.2017

    Story by Tech. Sgt. N. Alicia Halla 

    176th Wing Public Affairs

    Thirty-four Alaska Air Guardsmen from the 176th Civil Engineer Squadron and support units spent two weeks renovating a center for children with disabilities in Riga, Latvia, as part of a Humanitarian Civic Assistance (HCA) mission during their annual training, July 24 to Aug. 6.

    The team installed new windows and sills, radiators, electrical outlets, light fixtures and plumbing for safety and energy efficiency in the 53-year-old building of the “Mēs esam līdzās” Rehabilitation Center.

    Along with providing civic assistance, the Alaska Airmen accomplished required annual training where they gained more experience in their assigned trades and branched out to other trades, as well.

    “I’m proud to be the commander of this unit,” said Lt. Col. Kass Larson, commander of the 176th Civil Engineer Squadron. “We got the training done and we exceeded our goals for the mission.”

    The Alaska civil engineer team were afforded the unique challenge of cultural and language differences as they worked alongside Latvian military personnel and contractors. These types of unique experiences help prepare service members for encounters during deployments.

    Another benefit to training in Latvia was showcasing what the United States can do.

    “The team was amazing,” said Col. Marvin Ee, the commander of the 176th Mission Support Group, after observing their work personally. “They represented themselves very well as ambassadors of our country.”

    HCA projects are coordinated and supported by multiple organizations including the National Guard Bureau and U.S. Embassy. It takes a few years of research, planning and resourcing to execute a project.

    The Alaska Airman were the third of four Air National Guard rotations on the project, including the 285th Civil Engineer Squadron (Virgin Islands), the 168th Civil Engineer Squadron (Alaska), the 141st Civil Engineer Squadron (Washington state) and the 202nd RED HORSE (Florida).

    “I think the 176th CES is a great group,” said Capt. R. Arthur Burton, the project manager. “They worked additional hours to meet team goals and to complete the project on time. The service they provided was quality.”

    HCAs allow Guard members to help the local community during training, honing technical skills.

    Historically in Latvia, children with disabilities were once sent to institutions, according to Dr. Andra Greitane, the director of the center. One of the goals of the rehabilitation center is to provide the children with assistance and put them back with their families.

    “We are very, very thankful to the U.S. government for this project,” Greitane said.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 08.10.2017
    Date Posted: 08.10.2017 19:33
    Story ID: 244511
    Location: RIGA, RIX, LV 

    Web Views: 259
    Downloads: 0
    Podcast Hits: 0

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