High Desert school districts and Veterans recently echoed the team spirit shown by the Fort Irwin community after Lewis Elementary School was shut down by last year’s devastating flood, here, Aug. 24.
In preparing space to accommodate some 400 Lewis Elementary School students, Fort Irwin Middle School had to dispose of unneeded furniture and equipment stored at the school. The items, considered surplus, could be donated, but to whom?
Katie Hylton, director of maintenance, operations and facilities for Silver Valley Unified School District, received a suggestion from an Adelanto School District official. Hylton was informed that perhaps Another Chance Foundation Academy would be interested. The newly established academy teaches military Veterans marketable job skills at its location at the Southern California Logistics Airbase in Adelanto, Calif. The academy had been trying to acquire desks, chairs, gym equipment and electronic equipment for its training facility.
Another Chance would accept the furniture, but it needed to be loaded and transported to SCLA. No problem. The Hesperia Unified School District provided a semi-trailer truck for the transportation and the Adelanto Elementary School District allowed one of its drivers to operate the truck. The driver also happened to be a National Guard Veteran and had trained at Fort Irwin. These are the types of coincidences that should happen more often, right?
The truck arrived to FIMS, Nov. 22, and was greeted by six Veterans from the academy. They and the driver spent a rainy morning and afternoon loading the semi-trailer with the furniture that was delivered to the academy.
“Their efforts helped our district clean up areas that I didn’t have the manpower or space to handle, and Another Chance was grateful to accept our donation of furniture that can be used to provide on-the-job training in furniture rehabilitation for Veterans,” said Hylton.
Hylton added that her district also donated 28 computer monitors to the academy to be used in its training labs.
Carmen Becker, a director with Another Chance, said the 53-foot trailer was filled to capacity with desks and chairs. She explained that as a non-profit, Another Chance, can accept donations of surplus furniture and materials from school districts. The desks and chairs will eventually be refurbished by Veterans training in a carpentry shop. The academy not only provides vocational instruction, but provides Veterans with counseling and job search resources.
“Our goals are to help Veterans and keep them off the streets,” Becker said.