KOLONIA, Pohnpei - Pacific Partnership celebrated the completion of two elementary school renovations during ribbon cutting ceremonies July 3 in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).
U.S. Seabees and one U.S. Marine assigned to Task Force Forager, the Pacific Partnership contingent embarked aboard the Military Sealift Command joint high speed vessel USNS Millinocket (JHSV 3), began renovations of Lukop Elementary School and Rohi Elementary School June 21.
Wailer Olter, principal of Lukop Elementary, personally recognized each Seabee and Marine who contributed to the renovation of the school.
"I want to give my sincerest thanks for the work you have done here," said Olter.
At Rohi Elementary, the Seabees and Marine painted the exterior, replaced security screens, installed a water catchment tank and concrete pad, repaired gutters, replaced the roof, and installed two toilets and new doors.
At Lukop Elementary, the team painted the exterior, replaced the roof, installed security screens, replaced four toilets and did minor plumbing work.
The renovations will provide a more comfortable learning environment for the 400 students that attend the Rohi and Lukop schools.
U.S. Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia Doria Rosen spoke of the value added by the renovations.
"When Millinocket departs in a couple of days, Lukop and Rohi will be the souvenirs that will be left behind," said Rosen. "The improvements we are celebrating here today will help ensure the children of this community have the facilities in working order that they need to learn effectively.
"It shows the importance that you all place on education and youth," she added. "The skills and knowledge that they cultivate here are going to form the foundation for the entire future for them and their country. These schools are an instrument of the community to build to the future. They are more than just buildings - what is most important is what is happening in those buildings."
According to Acting Secretary of Foreign Affairs Samson Pretrick, the repairs are symbolic of the relationship between the U.S. and FSM.
"Today we gather together to rejoice the successful completion of renovations and repairs," said Pretrick. "As we rejoice, we must be thankful. Thankful for the kind assistance we have received as a result of our cherished and solid partnership that we have with the United States of America and its people."
He also spoke about the value that the government of FSM places on education.
"The assistance compliments and supports our government's ongoing effort to provide better educational conditions for our communities and our children," said Pretrick. "This ongoing effort will always be a priority for our government because education is fundamental to creating a knowledgeable population to progress and carry our country forward into the generation to come."
Millinocket and embarked Task Force Forager are currently serving as the secondary platform for Pacific Partnership 2015. The primary platform for the mission is the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19).
Now in its tenth iteration, Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region. While training for crisis conditions, Pacific Partnership missions have provided medical care to approximately 270,000 patients and veterinary services to more than 38,000 animals. Additionally, the mission has provided critical infrastructure developments to host nations through the completion of more than 180 engineering projects.