Monday, June 22, 2009

Support Battalion provides amenities to Afghan Schools

By Pfc. Chris Baker

Task Force Spartan PAO Broadcast Journalist

FORWARD OPERATING BASE SHANK, Afghanistan – Afghan National Police from Pul-e-Alam supported by Soldiers of 710th Brigade Support Battalion, Task Force Spartan, delivered some 2,000 pounds of supplies June 2 to the Darwesh and Karzai Elementary Schools, near Pul-e-Alam .Notebooks, pens and soccer balls were handed out, along with many other items in an attempt to provide more amenities for Afghan students.

The most significant gift given during the day was work desks for the otherwise empty Darwesh Elementary."When we found this school, it had no furniture whatsoever. What we've done, using Commander's Emergency Relief Program funds, we've brought furniture for them in order for them to have a better learning experience," said Lt. Col. Eugene Shearer, 710th BSB commander."I've never been in school and tried to read and write while sitting on the floor. The desks will create a more organized classroom," said Capt. William Bennett, commander of A Company, 710th BSB.

Battalion leaders hope these basic supplies will help make the learning process easier for Afghan children, who are accustomed to having very little. As Afghan children ran around excitedly and asked Soldiers for pens, Bennett explained the progress his unit has made in Logar. "We've made great strides to build trust and relationships in this area. Today's a good day. We actually have furniture and supplies for the children who would otherwise be sitting on the ground," Bennett said. Bennett said one of the biggest requests from local leaders were the desks. With that request fulfilled, the battalion focus can shift towards other projects in the area, such as power, wells and building projects. According to Shearer, many more improvements are on the way."In our area of operations, we've planned projects for several schools, mosques and roads," he said. Shearer also mentioned the International Security Assistance Force's dedication to helping in Afghanistan."It's a long-term commitment. You can't get everything done right away. It takes time," he said.

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