Marines turn command outpost into youth center Print E-mail
by Lance Cpl. Paul Torres
Regimental Combat Team 5
 

The stage of the new youth center in Anah, Iraq, is lined with flags of Iraq as members of the community gathered to celebrate the grand opening, Aug. 30, 2008. The center had been previously used as a military outpost by coalition forces.
The stage of the new youth center in Anah, Iraq, is lined with flags of Iraq as members of the community gathered to celebrate the grand opening, Aug. 30, 2008. The center had been previously used as a military outpost by coalition forces.

ANAH, Iraq (Sept. 8, 2008) — A virtue of a good guest is to leave things better than you found them.

Coalition forces have been working hard since the demilitarization of Command Outpost Ocataw in Anah to refurbish the building back into a building that could be used by the community.

Key leaders gathered Aug. 30 to celebrate the grand opening of the Anah youth center and to officially open its services to the community.

“The center is important for the people in Anah,” said Ganem Tawfiq Shakir, the mayor Anah. “It was used by coalition forces in the in the past, but with the help of embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team and Civil Affairs, it will provide a place to hold many activities for the community.”

Over two months of work was put into repairing the floors, plumbing, electricity and other repairs to fix the building so that it could be used by the people here.

“We are right now using the building to celebrate Ramadan, and in the summer, we have plans to use it for sports classes such as boxing and tae kwon do,” said Shakir. “We are also going to use the center for educational classes and the school can use the main room for public speakers to come and teach.”

The ceremony included speeches from key leaders within the Anah government and coalition forces.

“After the mayor cut the ribbon, coalition forces officially handed over [the building] to the community,” said 1st Lt. Daniel M. Thomas, of Santa Barbara, Calif., who is the team leader with Civil Affairs Team 5, Detachment 1, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5.

A group of about 20 to 30 boys attended the grand opening to represent the youth. The center is being supplied with basketballs, footballs, table tennis and billiard tables to give the town children a safe place to spend time and stay out of trouble.

“The youth center will be a place where kids can go that will have facilities and equipment they wouldn’t otherwise have access to,” said Sgt.Vaughn E. Ball, of Hamer, Idaho, a civil affairs Marine with CA Team 5.

After the ceremony, the Marines with CA Team 5 handed out soccer balls to the children that had been donated by the Kick for Nick foundation, a foundation started in memory of Army Pfc. Nick Madaras. Madaras was killed, Sept. 3, 2006, in Iraq by an improvised explosive device.

With the Anah youth center now open, the children of Anah have even more reason to be happy and a safe place to have fun.

 
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