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Patriotic Article
Noble Efforts

By Army Sgt. Felix Acevedo

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Air Cav Soldiers Assisting Through Habitat for Humanity
(August 7, 2010)

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Spc. Chase Blake (foreground), of Fort Meyers, Fla., and Pfc. Jennifer Pizane (background), from Los Angeles, both with A Company, 615th Aviation Support Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, apply primer to the inside of a house built by the Fort Hood Area Habitat for Humanity, here, July 29, 2010.
Spc. Chase Blake (foreground), of Fort Meyers, Fla., and Pfc. Jennifer Pizane (background), from Los Angeles, both with A Company, 615th Aviation Support Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, apply primer to the inside of a house built by the Fort Hood Area Habitat for Humanity, here, July 29, 2010.
 KILLEEN, Texas (August 4, 2010) — Soldiers from the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, took time out of their workdays to volunteer with the Fort Hood Area Habitat for Humanity.

A handful of motivated soldiers from A Company, 615th Aviation Support Battalion wanted to put their time to good use by volunteering. They didn't have to look far to find Habitat for Humanity.

1st Lt. Benjamin Small, from Augusta, Ga., the transportation platoon leader for A Company, felt this was the perfect use of time for his soldiers and was glad they wanted to help out.

Small didn't have to ask for help either, they volunteered on their own accord.

“It's just wanting to give back to the community,” said Small. “While we were in Iraq, they took care of our families. Now that we're back, we want to do something for the community.”

Site director and construction supervisor William Generali, a retired command sergeant major who started volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in 2005, now works full-time for them.

“In this particular case, [the soldiers] called up and said they wanted to bring soldiers up, which we appreciate because that's how we get houses done,” said Generali. “All these houses are done by volunteers.”

At any given time, the Fort Hood Area Habitat for Humanity could have one to three houses being built. They recently
finished one house, dedicated a new site for another and are currently in the middle of a build which the A Company soldiers are helping with.
Though they are not a large group, the troopers have a lot of motivation and a knack for getting things done.

“We'll get more done with this group, then when we have 30 people,” said Generali. “We could have 100 soldiers here a day [and] get this house done in six weeks, but it won't look good. It has to meet today's building standards. We get inspected just like any other home.”

And unlike some house makeover shows, Habitat for Humanity doesn't have millions of dollars to make houses in weeks. They are a non-profit organization which prospers from donations, grants and volunteers, said Generali.

Sgt. Angela Perez, from Pharr, Texas, a transportation specialist, sweated in the humid heat, but couldn't see herself doing anything else more worthwhile than volunteering.

“I've always liked helping people. I'm just happier when I'm helping someone else than when I'm helping me,” she said.

Along with helping others and giving back to their local community, the soldiers are learning skills which they can use to better their own surroundings at work and home.

Most of the soldiers came into these projects with little or no construction or home improvement knowledge. But as they gave and donated their time to their community, they walked away with new skills which can benefit them.

“Not only are [the soldiers] learning – I'm learning,” said Small. “I really didn't know how to paint or do some of this other stuff. So when I get my own house, I'll be able do some minor repairs.”

This particular house is scheduled to be completed near the beginning of September, but there are many more projects in the works and more people in need.

The common consensus among the hard-working troopers is that volunteering and helping others is the key – it doesn't just have to be Habitat for Humanity.

“I just encourage more soldiers, more units, more commanders to actually get involved in stuff like this. Not necessarily just Habitat for Humanity, but giving to other people,” said Perez. “There are so many causes out there that we can really be helping out.”

Article and photo by Army Sgt. Felix Acevedo
1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs
Copyright 2010

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