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Helmets to Hardhats Partnering With Coast Guard to Boost Area East of Capitol Hill

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Since the U.S. Coast Guard moved its headquarters east of the nation’s capital, its servicemen and women have entrenched themselves in the neighborhood, often lending a helping hand.  Recently, the Coast Guard established networks at the nearby Children of Mine Youth Center and the Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys on the outskirts of Congress Heights. Importantly, the group has partnered with Helmets to Hardhats (H2H) to assist neighborhood groups that care for the area along the St. Elizabeth’s campus.  

In a story from East of the River News, the Coast Guard’s partnership with H2H is praised.  Members helped power-wash the bustling community center and plan to work with other partners to secure a new entryway sign which will read, “The cost of real love is no charge.”  Now, many H2H members are becoming more involved in the community thanks to the Coast Guard’s networking:

Darrell Roberts, executive director of Helmets to Hardhats, which connects National Guard, Reserve, retired, and transitioning active-duty military service members with skilled training and quality career opportunities in the construction industry, visited Children of Mine and immediately recognized that the lasting difference Hawkins makes in the neighborhood parallels the service that veterans make to their country. “Being able to contribute both with organizing skilled labor and physically working on a structure that houses such a noble effort is very rewarding,” Roberts wrote in an email. “The relationship we build with the Coast Guard and with Ward 8 will help to spread the word of Helmets to Hardhats. This will, in turn, hopefully help the residents and veterans at the local level.”

Much like union membership, part of the military experience is about volunteering. As Lt. Commander Jonathan Schafler told East of the River News, since moving to St. Elizabeth’s campus the Coast Guard has done just that.  Part of that volunteerism is inspiring the community to get involved and assist:

“Our role is to share in the area’s heritage and legacy and be a good neighbor,” Schafler said during our interview. In less than six months more than 80 USCG personnel have volunteered more than 1,000 combined service hours. Schafler is currently recruiting Community Ambassadors to attend civic functions, monthly meetings, give tours, and participate in environmental clean-ups. Training is provided upon a minimum commitment of two hours a month.

Nathan Harrington, a resident of Congress Heights who has organized clean-ups of the 205-acre Shepherd Parkway, met Schafler in June. “In the short time since becoming head of community outreach for the new Coast Guard headquarters at St. Elizabeths, Schafler has become a major champion for Ward 8,” remarked Harrington. “He’s attended more community meetings than practically anyone and is involved in a host of projects including Shepherd Parkway and the Ward 8 Cemeteries Working Group.”

Read the entire article ” target=”_blank”>here, and more about H2H efforts in our archives.


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