LA HUACA, Peru (NNS) -- Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 28 (NMCB 28) and Marines from 8th Engineer Support Battalion held a ribbon-cutting ceremony May 8, to mark the end of a nine-day renovation project at Cruz Maria Miñan Quezada School in La Huaca, Peru.
The 13-member team, embarked aboard USNS Comfort (T-AH 20), contributed more than 860 man-hours to the renovation project, which was conducted as part of Continuing Promise 2011 (CP '11).
In addition to many other tasks, the team reconstructed an existing classroom, added new light fixtures and ceiling fans to all the classrooms, and returned running water to restrooms via plumbing repairs.
"We are very pleased that the kids are going to be able to study in better conditions with an improved environment," said school administrator Teddy Guzman.
The ceremony gave CP '11 leaders and school officials an opportunity to address the crowd of mothers and children who will benefit from the renovations.
"This deployment for us is one of humanitarian assistance, but one of the big things we do is build relationships," said Commodore Brian Nickerson, CP '11 mission commander. "It's the relationships that we build on a personal level that are truly important. There has been a great relationship between our two countries over the years and I look to the boys and girls here to continue that relationship."
Nickerson said that the time spent playing soccer, answering questions, laughing and taking pictures with the children of La Huaca are memories that everyone involved will always cherish.
"We get just as much out of these projects as the kids do," said NMCB 28 Officer-In-Charge Ensign Tres Moreno of the time he and his team spent with the children at the school.
Moreno said he feels that the work they did at Cruz Maria Miñan Quezada will positively impact the education of the children of La Huaca, as well as the relationship between the United States and Peru.
"Better schools equal better education, which equals better opportunities," said Moreno. "We hope that the improvements to their school give them a chance to make a difference in the world and also plants a positive image of Americans with the people of Peru."
COMUSNAVSO/COMFOURTHFLT supports U.S. Southern Command joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.
For more news from U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command & U.S. 4th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusns/.