CHIRIQUI GRAND, Panama (NNS) -- Seabees embarked aboard USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) improved the quality of life for Panamanian citizens by adding upgrades to a school and medical clinic in Chiriqui Grand, Panama, Oct. 3, as part of Continuing Promise 2010.
Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 7 (NMCB 7) and Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 202 (CBMU 202) Seabees added window screens, 290 feet of fencing, 70 feet of sidewalk, and playground equipment to the Silico Creek School.
Seabees also added an ambulance carport, medical storage space, and a septic system to the Silico Creek Clinic.
Lt. j.g. Kelly Stevens, officer in charge of the Seabees participating in Continuing Promise, emphasized the importance of construction projects in regards to the success of the mission.
"Seabees hope to build a strong relationship with Panama by constructing quality products to improve the daily lives of those who are less fortunate, and we judge mission success by the lives we impact long after we depart," said Kelly. "Through our 'Can Do' spirit we will undoubtedly win the hearts and minds of the lives we touch here in Panama."
Chief Steelworker (SWC) Leslie Morgan, NMCB 7, enjoyed the opportunity to help people, even if it only meant giving them basic amenities such as plumbing.
"Most of the deployments I've been on have been on a base, but this mission I've been able to get out and meet people, and you find how nice people are," said Morgan. "It's a good experience for the Seabees."
The improvements made by Seabees at the Silico Creek Clinic greatly increased the capability of the facility which provides care to 3,000 individuals. The construction at Silico Creek School increased the safety and sanitation of the facility for the children attending the school.
Equipment Operator Constructionman John Hinds, NMCB 7, said he appreciated the opportunity to help the Panamanian people.
"Being able to provide people with things like this makes me feel like we're helping these people progress their education, and I like knowing I was part of that," said Hinds. "When people think of the military, they think of big guns and trucks, but we're here building stuff like schools."
Continuing Promise 2010 is a humanitarian civic assistance (HCA) mission. The assigned medical and engineering staff embarked aboard Iwo Jima work with partner nation teams to provide medical, dental, veterinary, and engineering assistance to eight different nations to improve mutual understanding of current medical issues.
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