Maine Army National Guard gives back while learning skills

Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 6:23 PM EDT
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Maine (WABI) - The Maine Army National Guard has been in East Millinocket helping to shape the future of the town and working to build skills while they do it.

They’ve been working to tear down fire towers at the old mill site hoping to pave the way for the future of this town.

“There are several interests in this particular site. Data centers leased land right adjacent to this site, and they would like to use the heat from the computers to actually heat the greenhouses,” said Town Selectman Michael Michaud.

This is part of the Guard’s Innovative Readiness Training, helping soldiers build and develop skills.

The training can place them on a variety of projects, helping the soldiers to get experience in a variety of jobs.

“We paid them to go to basic training and to go to Advanced Individual Training, where they learned these skills. This is a skill set that they’ve then brought back to the state of Maine, so they now know how to build a house, how to do plumbing, how to do electrical, anything that has to do with building something from the ground up,” said Staff Sergeant Orie Bartlett.

And they get the chance to give back to the place they call home.

“That’s great. It’s honestly why a lot of us join the Guard. It’s where we live in these communities, and it’s nice to give back,” said Captain Danielle Somma.

Down the road in Chester, the Guard is also developing a training site.

For the soldiers here, even if they came in with experience in this field of work, it’s an opportunity for them to improve upon those skills.

“I did some carpentry before I got into the Guard, but I didn’t have a really good grasp on it, but the Army National Guard has really taught me how to be a good carpenter,” said Staff Sergeant Randall Hilbert.

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