News: US Navy sailor builds morale for Provincial Reconstruction Team Farah
Story by Senior Airman Mark Graff
FORWARD OPERATING BASE FARAH, Afghanistan – Deployment and comfort don’t always go hand in hand and Petty Officer Luis Sanchez is well aware of the inconveniences of life away from home.
Amidst a cloud of sawdust and the ripping sound of a two-by-six through a circular arm saw, Petty Officer Sanchez understands that the simplest comforts can make deployment that much easier for fellow service members.
That’s why the 28-year-old, from Portsmouth, Va., volunteered to work at a carpenter in the FOB Farah woodshop.
“I wanted to try something different and learn a skill that I could use back home - that’s why I volunteered for this job.”
Despite having some background in construction, Sanchez admits didn’t have a clue on how to properly build things when he started.
“If it wasn’t for my fellow shipmates such as the outgoing non-commissioned officer in charge, I wouldn’t have learned much at all.”
Since Petty Officer Sanchez has been put in charge of the woodshop, he has become an inspiration for morale and a popular person amongst the members of the PRT. His biggest accomplishment has been the expansion of the barbecue-pizza pit.
His planning and building efforts have transformed a tiny gathering space into a large social area where soldiers, sailors and airmen and airwomen can gather to relax and escape the everyday grind.
“I am the most proud of that expansion. From getting the materials, expanding the deck and putting on a new roof, it was all to make our lives just a little bit better over here.”
Since his arrival to FOB Farah he’s not only built items for the administrative side of the PRT, he’s taken the time and effort to build furniture, shelves and other odds and ends for people. So far he’s built more than 175 items.
He especially enjoys creating commemorative plaques that are presented as awards to his fellow PRT members.
“When I leave I would hope that other PRTs continue where I’ve left off.”
That remains to be seen but what’s clear is that Petty Officer Luis Sanchez has definitely carved out a legacy for himself.