Maintenance window scheduled to begin at February 14th 2200 est. until 0400 est. February 15th


Forgot Password?

    Defense Visual Information Distribution Service Logo

    Fate brings together Guard engineers and a small community

    Fate brings together Guard engineers and a small community

    Photo By Jason Kriess | Members of the 176th Engineer Company based out of Snohomish, Washington, help...... read more read more

    NORTHPORT, Washington – It all started with a chance encounter in the summer of 2018.

    Two 20-person hand crews comprised of members of the 176th Engineer Company based out of Snohomish were mobilized in support of wildland firefighters battling the Sheep Creek Fire that was encroaching on the tiny community of Northport, located about 100 miles north of Spokane. The engineer crews supported the local fire department firefighters that were headquartered at the Northport school grounds.

    Meanwhile Rose Kalamarides, a retired, fourth generation resident of Northport, was trying to find people from the local Job Corps who were also assisting in the firefighting efforts. She was trying to see if they would be able to assist her in a home renovation project she was trying to get off the ground for the Northport Historical Society, where she volunteers.

    “I was having trouble finding volunteers and I was trying to locate some Job Corps folks who were also at the school,” Rose said.

    1st Sgt Andrew Larkin was working in the fire headquarters and overheard Rose describe the type of project she had and the work that she was hoping to get done. She was fruitless in her search for the Job Corps and left.

    “I followed her out into the parking lot,” Larkin said. “And told her about the 176th and what our capabilities are.” They took a quick drive down the road so that Larkin could get a look at what needed to be done. He said it would be an excellent opportunity to train his engineers and a great way to do something positive for their community.

    “It was fate. It was destiny. It was the coolest thing to happen,” Rose exclaimed.

    That's how it all started.

    After months of applications, approvals and coordination, the 176th sent a team to Northport to begin the project for the town's historical society.

    The 176th Engineer Company is comprised of carpenters, electricians, plumbers and heavy equipment operators among other construction specialties, and is headquartered in Snohomish, Washington.

    Consisting of multiple two-week annual training periods, the project will take up to three years to complete. The home, which is owned by the Northport Historical Society, will eventually be the new location of the town's Visitor's Center, the museum and an artisan gift shop where local artists can sell their creations.

    The residents of Northport welcomed the soldiers with open arms. Rose had no problem asking local businesses to help provide the soldiers with amenities like coffee, breakfast, snacks or even boat trips up the Columbia River. Rose let the soldiers have free access to her vacation house on a nearby lake so they could unwind after a long day on the job.

    “They rolled out the red carpet for us,” Larkin said. “They are just ecstatic to have us out here.” Not a day went by without the job site being visited by locals dropping off plates of cookies, striking up conversation or just to say, “Thank you.”

    Larkin said that this is the first major project his company has taken on in a local town outside of the occasional state activation for fires or floods. They have partaken in Cobra Gold exercises in Thailand building schools for the past seven years. The schools in Thailand typically come in a cookie-cutter like style. They're all basically the same. But renovating a 100-year-old house in the states is substantially different.

    Larkin said the training value that this project gives his soldiers is fantastic. “For soldiers to see tangible results at the end of a training period and to take those skills to other military or civilian life… you just can't find that in very many places.”



    Date Taken: 08.25.2020
    Date Posted: 08.25.2020 14:18
    Story ID: 376756
    Location: NORTHPORT, WA, US

    Web Views: 483
    Downloads: 1