Greene County celebrates engineer's effort

By Maj. A. A. Puryear
Deputy Public Affairs Officer

Engineers lay down jute mesh to help prevent soil erosion and prepare for hydro seeing. (Photo by A. A. Puryear)
STANARDSVILLE, Va. - Stanardsville, Va. - County officials and citizens of Greene County gathered together with engineers from the Virginia National Guard to celebrate the completion of Phase I of the county's new park. Soldiers from six different Army and Air Guard units constructed the park as part of their annual training during the course of the summer.

Bruce Morris, chief deputy from the Virginia Department of Public Safety, was in attendance for the event, as well as Maj. Gen. Claude Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, and Brig. Gen. Joseph Godwin, Asst. Adjutant General for Virginia.

Morris told the group of citizens gathered for the celebration that this project was a "tribute to the citizens of Greene County and the Commonwealth of Virginia." He also said it was rewarding to see the Guard involved in this kind of partnership with the community.

"This project shows was can be accomplished when different levels of government work together," Williams told the group. He explained that the while the Virginias for Virginia program is very worthwhile, the Guard can only engage in this sort of activity every three or four years. This is due to the training requirements that the engineers have to accomplish to meet state and federal readiness requirements.

Williams noted that during the project there were 4,700 equipment hours and 9,560 man hours logged and $27,000.00 in federal funds invested in the project. He said that the Guard effort saved half a million dollars.

The project was coordinated by the 28th Engineer Brigade based at Fort A.P. Hill. Other units participating were the 189th Engineer Battalion from Big Stone Gap, the 276th Engineer Battalion from Richmond, the 1030th and 1031st from Gate City, and the 229th Engineer Battalion from Fredricksburg. Also involved in the project were the 203rd Red Horse Flight for the Air National Guard and 3647th Maintenance Company from Blackstone.

Lt. Col. Harry E. Meade of the 28th Engineer Brigade points out the work done on the Greene County soccer fields to Bruce Morris, Chief Deputy from the Virginia Department of Public Safety. (Photo by A. A. Puryear)
The project was declared a success by officials from the Guard and Greene County. Lt. Col. Harry E. Meade, the executive officer of the 28th Engineer Brigade, said, "We attained more than we hoped for. If it hadn't rained, we would have finished the entire project."

The only thing remaining to be done is to install a drainage system and seed the field, Meade said. The fields should be ready for use in Spring 2002.

Meade explained that this had been a great training opportunity for the engineers involved. Engineers got large amounts of "stick time" operating a dozen different engineer vehicles from the Army inventory.

The amount of work that was accomplished was even more impressive given the fact that many engineers were called away to support disaster relief in West Virginia, Meade said.

"The Guard has done more than we ever anticipated," said Heather Hogle, Greene County Parks and Recreation Director. "We are years ahead of where we would have been with the help of the Virginia Guard, and this will really allow us to expand our soccer program."

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