624th CES lays Foundation for Special Olympics

  • Published
  • By James Bowman
  • 624th Regional Support Group

Since mid-June, Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 624th Civil Engineer Squadron have been participating in a unique civil engineer mission spearheaded by the Air Force Reserve Command: supporting the construction of a new facility that will benefit Special Olympics Hawaii athletes, their families and coaches, and the community at-large.

These service members, in addition to Air National Guard, Navy Reserve and Army National Guard members, are putting their skills and talents to use in the construction of a multi-purpose building and play court at Special Olympics Hawaii’s Ewa Beach location.

The mission is something known as “Innovative Readiness Training,” which provides service members the opportunity to train in a joint environment to enhance military readiness, build civil-military partnerships and provide key services to communities.

"We can't thank the DOD IRT program enough for their support of the construction of the Special Olympics Hawaii Health and fitness building and play court. Through the IRT program, hundreds of military service members are providing both skilled and unskilled labor at no cost to Special Olympics Hawaii while also gaining valuable training to support future missions,” said Dan Epstein, president and CEO, Special Olympics Hawaii. “When complete, the facility will serve hundreds of Special Olympics athletes in their efforts to train, compete and stay healthy."

Approximately 15 members of 624th CES have participated in the work to date, and an estimated 300 service members from across branches have accomplished 28,000 critical training requirements that increase members’ deployment readiness and wartime skills while simultaneously giving back to the community.

“Working in a joint environment is rewarding, because each branch of service brings its own culture and experience on how to complete the mission. It was pretty amazing to work with reserve soldiers and sailors who have the same trade; lasting relationships were built during such an important project,” said Master Sgt. Tiana Corpuz, 624th CES specialist. “I do believe the IRT program increases deployment readiness, with more hands-on experience, which helps our Airmen be more prepared to successfully support other mission requirements.”

Through this partnership with Special Olympics Hawaii, the mission will result in $900,000 projected cost savings to the community.

"Participating in the construction of this state-of-the-art facility for Special Olympics Hawaii not only provided an opportunity for our Reserve Citizen Airmen to gain valuable hands-on experience, it also provided a unique opportunity to work with others across the DoD, AFRC CE team, as well as with private sector partners, and to create something that will have a positive impact on their community for years to come," said Lt. Col. Rudolph Bartley, commander of the 624th CES. "We strive to develop empowered leaders, train mission-ready Airmen and seek out opportunities to serve others over ourselves; this partnership fulfilled all of those priorities. I am both proud and humbled by the work and cooperative spirit that enabled such an incredible facility, providing a safe space for special athletes to train year-round."