Mildenhall airmen help local school refurbish playground
July 17, 2006
BRANDON, England — A handful of airmen from the 100th Air Refueling Wing pitched in over the weekend to help a local school celebrate its 30th birthday this week.
Airmen from the 100th Civil Engineering Squadron met Saturday morning at Glade Primary School in this quiet East Anglian town to help school officials put the final touches on several weeks’ worth of work to the school’s grounds.
“It’s really all about just giving these kids a better place to play,” said Senior Airman Andrew Massengale. “We’ve come out to do our part for the community.”
The RAF Mildenhall airmen learned about the project from a British civilian who works in the Civil Engineering Squadron and is a close friend of the school’s administrator.
Officials at the school have converted what was just recently nothing more than an open field where kids would play soccer at recess into a playground with several new facilities.
The school now features a basketball court, a climbing wall, an outdoor area designed for reading and several types of gardens. Roughly half a dozen American children attend Glade Primary School.
The airmen on hand Saturday helped school officials finish off the gardens as well as move heavy equipment around the grounds.
Saturday’s sweat-inducing philanthropy is part of a larger campaign by airmen serving in the United Kingdom to volunteer locally.
Last month, a group of airmen from the 48th Contracting Squadron at RAF Lakenheath spent a Saturday helping disabled children participate in a daylong sporting event. And both bases regularly participate in efforts to clean the roadside and parks in the surrounding area.
Terry Price, a first-year teacher who spent Saturday supervising the crew and painting a wall for the school’s birthday party this week, thanked the airmen for their volunteer spirit that will ultimately help the children grow into better students.
“This is what it’s all about, isn’t it? Helping the children,” Price said. “Now they’ll have more to do out here, which means they’ll play better and come back to the classroom in a better state of mind. It really makes a tremendous difference — for them and for me.”