On a chilly Saturday morning with overcast skies and moderate wind chill factor, 19 Army Reserve Soldiers from the 210th Regional Support Group – Mobilization and Deployment Brigade/Fort Bliss Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security entered the Child Crisis Center of El Paso to commence work on their project.
A dissonance of varying sounds ensued, as the removal of floor tiles cracked, brooms swept, paint rollers splashed against wall surfaces, mop buckets squeaked along the floors, and animated conversations between the Soldiers resonated throughout the day.
The aforementioned project was an all-volunteer effort conducted by the 210th RSG Soldiers, continuing upon their community outreach initiative with the CCCEP during their mobilization here from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.
For two consecutive weekends, these Soldiers painted, replaced floor tiles, fixed window panes, and performed other minor touch-ups to five children’s bedrooms and office areas of the CCCEP.
“This was a good initiative for us to do something for Christmas, for these kids that don’t have anything to share with other people,” said Sgt. 1st Class Angel Rodriguez, noncommissioned officer in charge of the operations cell for the Fort Bliss Soldier Readiness Processing Center. “This was a good opportunity for us to give something back to the community while we are here.”
Created in 1980, the CCCEP has provided constituents of El Paso and Fort Bliss with programs and services that comprise of emergency interventions, housing/sheltering of abused and neglected children, and educational and tangible support for military families and single parents.
“We are a nonprofit organization, and for 38 years, we had the opportunity to support the local community and military families,” said Andrew Castaneda, shelter supervisor for the CCCEP. “This project was able to come about through a wonderful grant in which we were the beneficiaries of, and allowed for the purchase of items that will be used to restore these bedrooms. And of course, also from the generosity, manpower, and expertise of these Soldiers who were willing to use those resources to good use.”
For the 210th RSG Soldiers, this was an opportunity for them to showcase their gratitude of the CCCEP by giving back to them in turn.
“I really appreciate what the center does for the community in El Paso,” said Capt. Crystal Maldonado, assistant security manager for the physical security section of the 210th RSG/MaD BDE. “They are there for the community and the kids, so the least we can do is go and help them out as much as we can.”
This community outreach project came into fruition immediately after the 210th RSG’s donation drive conducted on Nov. 1, 2018. 210th RSG Soldiers from the Fort Bliss SRPC and special projects/facilities section met with each other to develop three courses of action, pre-labor assessments, and implementation controls.
“Our commander expressed to the management that we have certain skills that can be used to help them refurbish the kids’ rooms,” Rodriguez said. “We then came up with three different vendors and materials to conduct this work, based on safety, durability and also the costs and the quality of the materials. So, we sent that information to the CEO of CCCEP, the CEO decided which materials to buy, they went out to buy those materials, and we then developed a legal assessment for us to conduct and execute this plan.”
Shortly afterward, separate teams of 210th RSG Soldiers went to CCCEP in this four-day effort to restore and renovate the CCCEP.
“We removed the damaged carpets, prepared the (floor) surfaces, installed new vinyl composition tiles, removed old wall bases and put up new ones, and painted the walls,” said Sgt. 1st Class Isaias Diaz, NCOIC of the special projects and facilities section of the 210th RSG/MaD BDE.
Diaz also said that was other additional work performed that wasn’t in the initial solicitation, which included renovating some of the offices, repainting the building rooftop, and fixing a couple of door frames.
“On labor, they saved about $5,000 dollars,” Diaz said. “If a contractor was doing that work for them, then that would (have been) the cost the labor that they would have paid for those services.”
Project completion was attained on Dec. 16, 2018, two days earlier than originally forecasted by those who developed the plan.
Albeit future community outreach initiatives with the CCCEP have yet to be confirmed, the 210th RSG/MaD BDE commander, Col. Javier Rivera, has pledged his support for the center until the unit’s demobilization in April 2019.
“One of the things that we’re really excited about is that this is a relationship that is going to continue to grow,” Castaneda. “This project was more than just remodeling or touching up. For the children who reside in our center, this is an environment where we strive to create a safe environment, and a safe haven for them too.”
Through their altruistic endeavors and steadfast commitment to the El Paso community, the 210th RSG Soldiers exemplify the Army Values of Duty, Selfless Service and Honor.
“I would like to thank all of those that are involved, who have organized, collected tools and everything else needed, and all the way to the commander for being so generous with his Soldiers’ time and allowing them to give back to the community,” Castaneda said. “This will ensure that we can continue to provide these wonderful services to military families and all those who live in our community.”
The Child Crisis Center offers services and support to Fort Bliss service members through its Military Family and Veteran Prevention Program (MFVPP).
For more information about MFVPP or any other requests or concerns, contact CCCEP at (915) 562-7955, or visit their website.