By Lt. Matthew Comer, HSV 2 Swift-Southern Partnership Station 2012 Public Affairs
EO2 Michael McAfee (left), NMCB 23, embarked aboard HSV 2 Swift, and Cesar Augusto Ixim, Guatemalan Army Corps of Engineers, cut segments of pipe for a fence at Escuela Rural Aldea Magueyes 1, San Jose, Guatemala. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Jennifer Grier
A recognition ceremony was held at Escuela Oficial Rural Mixta Aldea Magueyes, Puerto San Jose, Guatemala, in honor of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 23 Seabees and U.S. Marine and Guatemalan construction specialists, Jan. 11, following completion of a 12-day construction project as part of High Speed Vessel (HSV) 2 Swift-Southern Partnership Station 2012 (SPS 12).
"I would like to thank all the people involved, especially SPS-12 on behalf of the children in this community," said Byron E. Anavisca Sandoval, community president. "We are looking forward to this year because our children will get to enjoy the rewards of education because of the work done here."
The project was led by project manager Marine Staff Sgt. Mario Vargas, whose family emigrated from Guatemala to the United States. The team of 18 Seabees, two Marines and 12 Guatemalan military construction specialists demolished and replaced the school and bathroom roofs, and installed more than 300 feet of fencing and security wire.
The team also installed a new securable entrance, replaced the water purification system and painted the school. The improvements will allow the school to reopen after a flood forced its closure last year.
"It is a wonderful pleasure for me to see the transformation of this school," said Cmdr. Todd Smith, commanding officer, NMCB 23. "It is great to see the work NMCB 23, the Marines and our Guatemalan partners have done here and the difference it will make."
Parents, teachers and children of the school, as well as Seabees, Swift service members and representatives from the Guatemalan Pacific Naval Base, attended the ceremony.
"When I was a student, I remember Sailors coming and doing what they are doing here," said Guatemalan Capt. Carlos Luis Sanchez, representative from the Guatemalan Pacific Naval Base. "To the children of public schools, this will give you the opportunity it gave me. Because of this, you will be able to reach your dreams."