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Building New Homes, Stronger Troops
The Illinois Air National
Guard is learning to build a base like the ones they use overseas, but they
don't need to leave Springfield to get the training. And everything they build will
go to people who really need it.
If walls could talk, they would have a lot to say about the crew that's making them stand.
“In the field they would be responsible for creating a base, maintaining the base and taking the base down,” Colonel Mike Meyer of the Illinois Air National Guard’s 183rd Fighter Wing said.
This time they're only building one up. A home base.
“It's very efficient," Meyer said. "It's very cost effective to do this here and at the same time we're able to contribute to our community."
“What used to be vacant land, where there was nothing but trouble going on, we're building it into a fantastic duplex," Springfield Ward 5 Alderman Sam Cahnman said.
“We have two families. We have a single male that will be living on one side and then a single female with two of her sons," Habitat for Humanity coordinator Kerri Kruger said.
Habitat For Humanity builds affordable housing for those in need. Now, the Illinois Air National Guard is one of its allies.
“Over the process, the next several months, we're going to end up with anywhere from 200 to 300 volunteers,” Kruger said.
The house will be built and these volunteers will learn the skills they need to survive.
“You use all the same skills," Meyer said. "You use carpentry, you use cement finishing, you use plumbing, you use electricity, siding. Instead of having to transport a hundred or a thousand miles away to do training we're able to do it here."
The environment overseas may be different, but the camaraderie is the same.
“The stress level is a lot higher, I mean people get a lot more aggravated overseas, being away from home," Master Sergeant Matt Wemble of the Illinois Air National Guard said. "Of course when you're there in the summer time you have the heat and weather is a big issue. And there's always the threat of something coming on the base."
“We've been on a lot of trips together so we know how to have fun and still get the job done," Wemble said.
After the duplex is complete, the Illinois Air National Guard hopes to get more training in as they help Habitat For Humanity build yet another project.