Military volunteers and local charities work together to give kids a head start

203rd RHS volunteers build playground in Norfolk

The newly completed playground at the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception is ready to be played on in Norfolk, Virginia. Members and civilians of the 203rd Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer (RED HORSE) volunteered their time to construct a new playground for a Head Start facility April 20-22, 2018. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Bryan Myhr)

203rd RHS volunteers build playground in Norfolk

Members and civilians of the 203rd Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer (RED HORSE) volunteer their time to construct a new playground April 20, 2018, in Norfolk, Virginia. The children previously played in a section of the parking lot at the Head Start program at the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Bryan Myhr)

203rd RHS volunteers build playground in Norfolk

Members and civilians of the 203rd Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer (RED HORSE) volunteer their time to construct a playground April 20, 2018, in Norfolk, Virginia. The effort was in coordination with the United Way to help a Head Start preschool program remain in a neighborhood that it serves. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Bryan Myhr)

203rd RHS volunteers build playground in Norfolk

Members and civilians of the 203rd Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer (RED HORSE) volunteer their time to construct a playground April 20, 2018, in Norfolk, Virginia. The effort was in coordination with the United Way to help a Head Start preschool program remain in a neighborhood that it serves. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Bryan Myhr)

NORFOLK, Va. -- Members of the 203rd Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer (RED HORSE), 192nd Fighter Wing, volunteered their time to construct a playground April 20, 2018, at the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Norfolk, Virginia. The effort was in coordination with the United Way of South Hampton Roads to help a Head Start preschool program remain in the neighborhood it primarily serves.

The preschool lacked adequate playground facilities for the 100 enrolled children. By volunteering their time and construction expertise, Airmen of the RED HORSE helped preserve a valuable program and provided the children a safe and fun place to play.

The Head Start program has been on the grounds of St. Mary’s, in the classrooms of their former academy, for approximately eighteen years. Federal grant money required to keep the program running was in jeopardy unless the facilities received needed repairs and improvements, including a new playground. The Head Start program could move to a new location, but Carol McCormack, president of United Way of South Hampton Roads, said they hoped the program could remain where it was.

“Most of these children walk here,” McCormack said. “So, if they moved out of the neighborhood, the children would lose their Head Start program.” United for Children, an affiliate organization of the United Way of South Hampton Roads, donated $20,000 in materials, but they needed someone to perform the construction.

A retiree of the squadron informed the current leadership of the RED HORSE about the need. A total of 34 people volunteered their own time. Among them were five civilians affiliated with the unit and one spouse of a member. Many of them took time off their military or civilian jobs to do the work.

“It’s our way to give back to the community for the support you’ve given us,” said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Getz, 203rd RED HORSE Squadron commander.

“This is the essence of community, when we can come together to do something for our most precious resources, which are children and our families in need,” said Kenny Alexander, Mayor of Norfolk, at the ceremonial groundbreaking. “We thank you for what you do for our country and, on behalf of the city, we’re very grateful.”

The volunteers also worked on upgrades inside the classrooms installing new blinds and fixing the valves in a bathroom. The construction was completed April 22, 2018 and the children have been enjoying the new facilities.

“The children love the new playground,” said Sara Layne, Center Coordinator and teacher at St. Mary’s Head Start. “We can stay out there for about an hour for each classroom, so it gives the children a lot of time to exercise... learning how to pull up and slide over, things that they may not be able to do in the classroom and when they go home as well.”

192d Fighter Wing

192d Fighter Wing

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Issue #14 of the 2018 Commonwealth's Guardian bi-weekly newsletter is available for download in PDF format at https://go.usa.gov/xUkYn. Please share the newsletter link with anyone you think would enjoy keeping up to date with the Virginia National Guard. Please visit https://go.usa.gov/xUkfU to subscribe to the newsletter via email. In This Issue: 529th CSSB ordered to mobilize for federal active duty Read more: https://go.usa.gov/xUkYa Virginia cyber warriors join New England exercise Read more: https://go.usa.gov/xUkYY Bissell takes command of NATO Headquarters Sarajevo Read more: https://go.usa.gov/xUkYg Va. National Guard aviation battalion trains around the state Read more: https://go.usa.gov/xUkY4 192nd Security Forces Squadron trains to shoot, move and communicate Read more: https://go.usa.gov/xUkYb DMA conducts first-ever Supervisor Course Read more: https://go.usa.gov/xUkYW
This #VaANG recruiting video from 2001 is #throwbackthursday gold. #tbt
192nd Security Forces squadron trains to shoot, move and communicate. Read more here - https://go.usa.gov/xUWZg Photos here - https://flic.kr/s/aHskEepSJQ
Check out the 192nd's own SSgt. Cunningham co-hosting the sixth episode of the Air Combat Command's podcast "The Reflective Belt"
For this #throwbackthursday, 2nd Lt. Allison Gilbert, a Physician's Assistant from the Virginia Air National Guard's 192d Fighter Wing, treats a young patient with the help of interpreter, 1st Lt. Roberto Balderon from the Salvadoran Army July 16, 2002. The 192 FW's Medical Squadron took a 14-day humanitarian mission to Morazan, El Salvador. They visited the four towns of Guatajiagua, Sociedad, Cacaopera, and Chilanga for medical support of the local people. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michele G. Misiano) #TBT #VaANG
Happy Independence Day 192nd Fighter Wing! Thank you all for helping to keep our country free. Enjoy your families today and be safe. Honored to serve with you all! - Chief Bouley
"Please join me in congratulating our 149th Fighter Squadron's Maj. 'Mongo' Dietrich who was awarded the United States Air Force 2017 Fighter Instructor Pilot of the Year," said Col. Frank J. Lobash, 192nd Fighter Wing commander. "This is an incredible accomplishment that once again shows the amazing talent and dedication our F-22 fighter squadron brings to the fight everyday." Lt. Gen. Mark C. Nowland, U.S. Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, hosts the 2017 Air Force Fighter Awards Ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington D.C., June 25, 2018. (Photo by Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz)
Issue #13 of the 2018 Commonwealth's Guardian bi-weekly newsletter is available for download in PDF format at https://go.usa.gov/xUrKZ. Please share the newsletter link with anyone you think would enjoy keeping up to date with the Virginia National Guard. Visit https://go.usa.gov/xU4R5 to add your email to the subscription list. In This Issue: 149th Fighter Squadron celebrates its 71st year Read more: https://go.usa.gov/xUrb2 Soldiers, Airmen awarded for marksmanship excellence Read more: https://go.usa.gov/xUrbT Flora to succeed Mercer as Assistant Adjutant General – Army Read more: https://go.usa.gov/xUrbj Hubbard takes command of 183rd RTI Read more: https://go.usa.gov/xUrbW 192nd Fighter Wing welcomes new wing command chief Read more: https://go.usa.gov/xUrbZ Governor signs DMV drivers license veteran indicator bill Read more: https://go.usa.gov/xUrbB
#Throwbackthursday to when the Virginia Air National Guard enlisted 50 Airmen in just three days during 1970. See anyone you served with? #VaANG #VANGUARD #TBT read more here: https://go.usa.gov/xQsqU
“Civil Support Team operations are extremely complex, and excellence doesn’t just happen,” said Brig. Gen. James W. Ring, Virginia National Guard Director of the Joint Staff. “We are extremely proud of the outstanding performance of the Soldiers and Airmen of the 34th CST on the external evaluation and greatly appreciate the time and effort that went into their success.”
Welcome Chief Master Sgt. Christopher L. Amburn! He is the newest member of the VaANG and the incoming 192nd Fighter Wing command chief.
The VaANG is making a difference around the world. 203rd RED HORSE Squadron is building a school for children in rural El Salvador as part of Operation Beyond the Horizon 2018. Accompanied by the 192nd Security Forces Squadron and 192nd Medical Group, the mission provided training opportunities for the Airmen and new facilities for Salvadoran children.View photos here - https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1826178330771708.1073741976.111055992283959&type=1&l=b1d569b546
Today, the 149th Fighter Squadron, Virginia Air National Guard, celebrates its 71st year as a unit. Read about what Airman 1st Class Dagejah Hampton and Lt. Col. "Scrappy" think makes the 149th FS great - https://go.usa.gov/xQhhc
Airmen of the 203rd RED HORSE squadron, Virginia Air National Guard, begin construction of a school, kitchen and latrine facility during May 2018 in rural El Salvador. The project was designed to bring vital services and resources to rural communities as part of Operation Beyond the Horizon, conducted by U.S. Army and Air Force active, guard and reserve components along with the El Salvadoran military and civic agencies. (Courtesy photo)
Happy Father's Day!
In case you missed it when the 203rd RED HORSE squadron volunteers were featured on the evening news for building a playground for kids in Norfolk, we talked with them too and went back to get photos of the finished project. According to one of the teachers there, the kids love the new playground. Great work RED HORSE! Read more here - https://go.usa.gov/xQtQ3
Members of the 203rd Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer (RED HORSE), 192nd Fighter Wing, volunteered their time to construct a playground April 20, 2018, at the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Norfolk, Virginia. The effort was in coordination with the United Way of South Hampton Roads to help a Head Start preschool program remain in the neighborhood it primarily serves.
Approximately 100 U.S. Flags are displayed in celebration of National Flag Day June 14, 2018, at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. Flag Day was officially established by President Woodrow Wilson on May 30, 1916. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Bryan Myhr)