The other mission

KAPAA — Ray Ho, project manager for Tropic Care Kauai of the state’s Department of Health, said this is the first time the Tropic Care reservists have utilized the tent city set up at the Kapaa Middle School athletic field.

“The previous Tropic Care operations had people staying in hotels,” Ho said. “This time, because they’ve gone to the tent city, there are other reservists coming in to support.”

Tropic Care reservists include the engineering units from Fargo, North Dakota and Pittsburg, who arrived ahead of the medical corps to establish the tent city.

Once operational, the reservists turned their focus to other areas of their mission.

“This is the last pour,” said Pat Kaihara, one of the supervisors of the Kawaihau Elevated Boardwalk, a spur from Ke Ala Hele Makalae, or the multi-use path in Kapaa. “Wednesday is their final day of work on this project. Thursday, they go back to taking down tents.”

Mary Daubert of the Mayor’s Office said work on the Kawaihau Elevated Boardwalk portion of Ke Ala Hele Makalae started a few weeks ago and will continue this week.

Work being done on the current phase is a collaborative effort between the Department of Public Works, Roads Division, and the Department of Defense through the military reservists who are on-island for Tropic Care Kauai, the DOD Innovative Readiness Training operation.

Site preparation and concrete pours are being completed. There are plans for the reservists to return in January to complete the project. Daubert said the county is looking to complete the Kawaihau Elevated Boardwalk in April.

“Our main focus is the tent city,” said Master Sergeant Terry Babler of the Fargo, North Dakota Air National Guard wing. “Our other mission is this bike path.”

Babler said the other engineering unit from Pittsburg has been involved with the Kapaa Middle School, which is hosting the tent city.

“Principal Nathan Aiwohi had a list of four, or five projects he wanted completed for the school,” Babler said. “Some of it included backfill. The Pittsburg unit constructed a 10 x 14 foot storage shed, worked on the drainage for the school, and cleared a 30-foot trail around the school’s fence line.”

Babler said the projects were possible because of several pieces of equipment provided by the county and the Pacific Missile Range Facility.

Other units working outside the medical mission included the U.S. Marines who were called on to help the County of Kauai provide service for more than 800 Summer Fun keiki during the football clinic hosted by the University of Hawaii football coach Nick Rolovich and his staff at the Vidinha Stadium.

“Not all of the Summer Fun kids wanted to do the clinic,” said Melanie Okamoto of the Deptartment of Parks and Recreation. “We needed to do something for those who opted out of the clinic so we created a Field Day using the Tropic Care reservists to help before everyone came together for lunch and an anti-bullying movie.”

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