By Pfc. Clay Beyersdorfer, 70th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
EO2 Tynita Russell, NMCB 23, takes a quick break during Beyond the Horizon, Morales, Honduras, where Seabees and U.S. Army engineers work with host nation personnel to build medical clinics and schoolhouses for the local Hondurans.
Equipment Operator 2nd Class Tynita Russell's dedication for the Beyond the Horizon (BTH) mission can not only be seen here at the site of a new schoolhouse being built in Morales, Honduras, but back in her hometown of Philadelphia as well. That dedication and results everyone will see as the schoolhouse is completed motivates Russell to give that extra effort.
"It's been a pretty amazing time...the people are amazing," EO2 Russell said. "They love us and absolutely appreciate us being here, which makes it all worthwhile."
Russell, a reserve petty officer with Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 23, Fort Belvoir, Va., is in Honduras throughout the duration of the BTH mission.
Beyond the Horizon Honduras is an Army South-led exercise, and is part of U.S. Southern Command's humanitarian and civic assistance program. U.S. Army engineers and Navy Seabees work with host nation personnel building medical clinics and schoolhouses for local Hondurans.
Not only is Russell helping build a school from the ground up, she also coordinated with her civilian employer back home to gather school supplies in a drive to give back to local children.
"I have worked with my employer back home for the past month to help get a drive going that has been gathering school supplies for the kids," Russell said. "I thought it would be great to give back to the kids...so I asked '[my employer] to jump on board and the response has been great. I can't wait to see their faces when they see what we have for them."
On the ground and out at the site, Russell is responsible for much of the horizontal construction, including leveling the ground and clearing debris for the schoolhouse and latrine.
"This whole experience has not only allowed me to train more at my equipment operator job, but to cross train into other areas like carpentry, electrical and plumbing," Russell said.
These new skills have allowed Russell, along with other Seabees, to come up with smaller projects such as building picnic tables and benches with the leftover wood.
Not only does Russell appreciate her fellow Seabees, but the other Army personnel she has worked with in Honduras.
"It's been very smooth working with the Soldiers, we definitely learn from each other." Russell said. "One of my initial concerns was the ability to communicate ideas and be able to work together, but we have worked so well side by side."
Looking back over everything she has done in the last couple of months, she has loved it.
"I wish we could do more and have more time," Russell said. "This whole thing is about the kids, it truly is, and to be able to help them is such a wonderful feeling. Getting to know these kids and see how much this will help them is an amazing experience."
Seabees, soldiers and citizens celebrate school, clinic opening in La Lima.