8th Engineers lends a helping hand to elementary school

19 Mar 2004 | Sgt. Christopher D. Reed

Marines and sailors from 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2d Force Service Support Group, constructed a covered walkway at the Stone Street Elementary School the week of Mar 15. The project was made possible by the leadership and vision of Dr. Richard Scroggs, school principal; Ms. Nancy Murphy, reading specialist and volunteer coordinator for the school; and the efforts and total dedication of the ‘hard charging’ Marines and sailors from 8th ESB, according to Lt. Cmdr. Ruben A. Ortiz, battalion chaplain. “I am proud of each one of our Marines and sailors,” said Ortiz. “They are making a difference not only in many countries around the world but also here as partners in education and progress in our neighborhood.”The most difficult part of the project was coming up with a plan and how to execute it, according to Sgt. Ethan Mahoney, project supervisor. “Now we are just putting the ideas into wood,” the Fairmont, Ind., native said. “I am mentoring the Marines and showing them how to do things, then I get out of the way and let them do the work.” Despite the difficulties with the planning process, the Marines were able to “improvise, adapt, and overcome.”“The Marines know what they are doing and they have a good feel for construction,” Mahoney said. “What we are doing out here is 90 percent common sense, which the Marines have. The other 10 percent comes from Military Occupational Specialty training.”Corporal Tony J. Allen views the project from the perspective of a parent as well as a combat engineer. “Not only do I love doing construction,” the Knoxville, Tenn., native said, “but I have children, and I wouldn’t want them or their class assignments getting rained on.”The project, described as “good training,” by Gunnery Sgt. Kevin D. Basso, construction chief, challenged the Marines and sailors to deal with tension as well as inclement weather as they were rained upon for most of the second day of construction. “It’s a joy to be out here,” Mahoney said, “but it can also be frustrating. Not having a plan and blueprints and having to come up with one made the tension high at times, but the Marines always work through it.”The students will be greeted by the “badly needed” structure when they return from spring break, according to Scroggs. “The Marines have done a wonderful job,” said the Swansboro, N.C., native. It was a good partnership between the unit and the school and will be a wonderful gift to the students and teachers who will be using the outdoor classroom.”The pride 8th ESB takes in lending a helping hand as partners in the community will continue after this project is completed, according to Ortiz. “We will be building overheads on the dugouts at Lejeune High School,” said Mahoney. “In addition within the month we will be building a monument for the 2d Marine Division Association at the Camp Johnson cemetery.”