By SrA K.L. Kimbrell, 931st ARG Public Affairs
/ Published June 09, 2006
McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. -- Most venture to the Hawaiian Islands to enjoy a sun filled vacation on the beach, complete with leis, hula girls and coconuts; on the other hand, the 931st Civil Engineer Squadron spent their time there with power tools, heavy machinery and elbow grease. (Well okay, maybe they had a little fun too.)
Members of the squadron, along with other Air Force Reserve CE squadrons, recently participated in an Innovative Readiness Project constructing Aloha Gardens, a 40-acre project in Wahiawa, Hawaii that will serve the elderly, persons with disabilities and the economically and culturally disadvantaged of Hawaii’s north shore.
Three Air Force Reserve Civil Engineer Squadrons teamed up to complete the project.
There were two rotations, lasting about two weeks each, from the 931st CES, the third and fourth overall, which participated in the project. The squadron was preceded by the 908th CES from Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. and followed by the 302nd CES from Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.
The first group worked on the project from April 29 until May 14, the second group from May 13 until May 28.
When the first group arrived the 908th CES had already laid the foundation for the project of building living quarters and a social hall.
“By the time we arrived, Maxwell (908th CES) had laid all of the concrete pads, and put up the interior and exterior walls of the three living quarters buildings,” said Master Sgt. Jeffrey A. Kilian, Structure Shop Supervisor. “The social hall was just a concrete pad when we arrived.”
The 931st CES completed their portion of the project and passed the baton to the 302nd CES to anchor the project.
“By the end of the rotations, the Social Hall was framed, trusses installed, decking placed, and underlayment for the metal roof placed,” said Sergeant Kilian, “The three living quarters buildings also had trusses installed, roofs decked, underlayment placed and the very beginnings of the metal roof was being placed at the end of our rotation.”
Despite the long, hard days, members of the 931st found some time to have some fun.
“On work days we were usually too tired to do anything, but on the weekend we tried to get in as much sightseeing as possible,” said Tech. Sgt. Erin Hubbard, Electrical Systems Specialist. “We went to Pearl Harbor, the Dole Plantation, saw an Elvis impersonator at the Blue Hawaii show, walked through Waikiki, saw the sun set at the North Shore, and hiked Diamond Head.”
And maybe a little more fun.
We went snorkeling, shopping, hiking, boogie-boarding, surfing, swimming on the beach, and some of us went to the movies, “said Senior Airman Callie Tilson, Supply Apprentice.
After the rotations were complete, some took time to reflect on the significance of the facility they had a hand in building.
“Since I have had two handicapped sisters, one of them lives in a similar facility; it had a special meaning for me,” said Sergeant Hubbard. “The Helemana Plantation is such an awesome place.”
“It feels good knowing that there are facilities for such purposes,” said Airman Tilson. “Knowing that you can put a smile on someone’s face and make their lives just that much better is worth it all.”