Friday | July 29, 2016
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Soldiers assist Habitat for Humanity cleanup in Waimea

Soldiers from Company B, 52nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, took a break from a rigorous training cycle at Pohakuloa Training Area to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity on the Big Island Sept. 2.

The project was part of Habitat for Humanity’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, providing assistance to different neighborhoods throughout the island and bringing much-needed care and attention to their homes.

The event was planned and coordinated with the help of PTA staff and Margo Takata, the local Habitat for Humanity event coordinator. During a break from training, 34 soldiers traveled to a house in Waimea to give back to the community.

Sayer Houseal, Habitat for Humanity project coordinator, organized the soldiers into smaller groups, briefed them on safety concerns and provided a tour of the site. Each group then chose an area and got to work. The soldiers’ house and yard efforts included exterior trim painting, interior painting, demolition, area beautification and reorganization of the house, front and backyards.

At the outset of the project, Houseal believed the project would not be complete until late in the afternoon but by 10:30 a.m., two dumpsters were filled to almost overflowing. The tasks took the soldiers only a matter of hours.

“Years will go by, and the community will remember what you have done here today,” Houseal said. “We cannot express our gratitude.”

During the second project of the day — an overgrown yard also in Waimea — the soldiers removed six pallets of cinderblocks, an overgrown avocado tree and approximately 200 overgrown potted plants.

Erin Stephens, Habitat for Humanity’s Community Relations coordinator, expressed her thanks and said she had never worked with a more jovial, disciplined group since she began working with Habitat more than two years ago.

“The number of soldiers you brought, their physical strength and the overall teamwork and efficiency translated into a flawless project,” Stephens said.

Weiner is Company B, 52nd Infantry Regiment executive officer.