A School in Need

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Austen Adriaens
  • 133rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Most elementary students around the U.S. have the opportunity of attending schools that can offer them desks to sit in and a foundation that can house them. One elementary school in Croatia needed a little help and Airmen from the Minnesota and Montana Air National Guard, along with the Croatian Army, were able to offer their services.

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 133rd and 148th Civil Engineering Squadrons and 219th Red Horse Squadron, along with members of the Croatian Army, performed a renovation project along with unloading a much needed donation of school supplies at an elementary school in Ogulin, Croatia.

The supplies were donated from school closures in Germany, base closures at U.S. Army installations in Europe, people within the U.S. and other various locations. The donated items were housed at a central location in Germany until they could be distributed to those in need or those affected by natural disasters. The U.S. Embassy in Zagreb, Croatia, aided in getting the supplies transferred to the school. Everything from desks, chairs, paper and even a piano were delivered in early July.

"The school furniture arriving here compliments the work being done by National Guard Airmen," said Diana Marsic, U.S. Embassy Zagreb, Croatia.

The school renovation aspect was part of a humanitarian civic assistance program supported by the U.S. Army, United States European Command, and 409th Contracting Support Brigade. Bathrooms, as well as other infrastructure items, at the school were in need of repair. The construction work was performed by U.S. Air Force Airmen from the Minnesota and Montana National Guard in partnership with the Croatian Army. Croatia is a Minnesota State Partner under the National Guard State Partnership Program. The supplies were donated in addition to the construction work completed.

There was some concern the second week into the project. The two large delivery trucks had been delayed multiple times and there was question as to whether or not they would arrive in time. However, everything arrived and was unloaded into the school. U.S. National Guard Airmen and members of the Croatian Army took a break from their renovation work and unloaded the supplies. The supplies and renovation will help enrich the lives and education of the students attending the elementary school. All the military members involved, as well as the local residents, were very thankful for the timing.

Andelka Salopek, principle of the elementary school, said, "We are so happy to get these school materials and we are very thankful for this donation."

A few citizens of Ogulin watched as the supplies were delivered with smiles on their faces. There were also a few students that started to gather around the delivery trucks. They attempted to help the Airmen and Croatian Army members by grabbing empty pallets and trash, moving them out of the way.

There was a strong sense of camaraderie and a willingness to work together amongst the U.S. National Guard Airmen, members of the Croatian Army, and Citizens of Ogulin, Croatia, in regards to this great donation for a school in need. These partnerships for peace create long lasting relationships and instill growth among a vastly growing global economy.