82nd Engineers clear land to aid Helemano Plantation

| October 7, 2010 | 0 Comments

Story and Photos by
2nd Lt. Brigida Sanchez
65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command

Soldiers assigned to the 82nd ESC, 65th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., 8th TSC, clear and grub five acres of land, Sept. 22, for the nonprofit organization, the Helemano Plantation. WAHIAWA — Soldiers from the 82nd Engineer Support Company, 65th Eng. Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, positioned bulldozers, dump trucks and backhoe loaders at the Helemano Plantation, here, Sept. 22, in preparation to clear five acres of land for the nonprofit organization.

The Helemano Plantation provides care and productive and developmental activities for mentally challenged adults, through real-world work programs.

The 65th Engineers and Helemano Plantation have worked together since 1980, when Susannah Chueng, originator of the plantation, sought the engineers’ help with clearing a piece of land where the organization would lay down its infrastructure. 

“In 1980, I went to see the general,” Chueng said, recalling the start of the 30-year partnership with the engineers. “The general then tells me to go to see the major. The next thing you know, the 65th Eng. Bn. has its big machines clearing land for infrastructure.” 

Because of the longstanding relationship with the engineers, Chueng always knows exactly who to ask for when her organization needs help. The cleared land will aid in raising animals that will continue to support the ever-changing needs of the growing organization.

Cleared land will be used to raise animals that help support the Helemano Plantation. The plantation also grows produce, such as pineapples and papayas.“As a nonprofit organization, having community outreach is integral in the sustainment of the program,” said 2nd Lt. Andrew Thoma, 3rd Platoon leader, 82nd ESC. “Clearing and grubbing land benefits the unit, as well as the plantation. We get to help the Wahiawa community and the Helemano Plantation.”

This mission not only reinforces what Soldiers have learned from past missions, but it also gives Soldiers, like Spc. Andrew Toner, an awareness of the surrounding community.

“From this mission, I have gained a sense of pride and accomplishment, as I worked side-by-side with my military counterparts, as well as my civilian counterparts,” Toner said.

The Soldiers are gaining real-life experiences, fostering solid relationships within the local community and working for a civilian organization that is constantly giving back to the community.

“It feels good to do work for an organization that works with the community and that helps adults who are mentally (disabled),” Thoma said. “Whenever you give back to the community, it is always a good thing.”

Category: Community, Community Relations

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