Service members from High Speed Vessel (HSV) 2 Swift volunteered at the Rafaela Santaella school in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, as part of a three-week project run by Seabees during Southern Partnership Station (SPS) 2012 on November 18.
The 17 Swift volunteers worked with parents, teachers, and students to paint buildings and embellish the school grounds. But Seabees had been working at the site for two weeks prior to the community service event, completing electrical, structural and plumbing repairs. Their specialized skills facilitated repairs to classroom lighting, storm drains, and masonry around the school.
“It is great to see everyone here working together to make the school better,” said Josefine Paulina, principal of the school. “I put so much of my passion into this school, and it great to see that passion in the volunteers here.”
The improvements will affect the 1,600 students who attend the primary school, as well as the 500 evening and adult-learning students.
“The kids love the Navy guys so much, we have to tell them to move away so that the guys can get their work done,” said Paulina.
Part of the project included repainting the school buildings and the basketball courts, as well as landscaping.
“The military detachment aboard Swift spends a lot of time working on the planning for HSV – Southern Partnership Station,” said Lt. Ben Towers, operations officer, Swift Gold Crew. “It was great to get out there and see the kids and the impact our planning has on the community.”
“It’s great to see the kids, teachers and parents working with the service members,” said Cmdr. Garry Wright, HSV-SPS 12 mission commander. “I think it shows what people can really accomplish when they have a common goal and work together.”