Student Flight Provides Community Service
By Sherree Grebenstein, 167th Airlift Wing
/ Published January 13, 2009
Martinsburg, WV -- More than 20 members of the 167th Airlift Wing's Student Flight provided community service to help preserve a historic ridge in Harpers Ferry during the Nov. 2 drill.
"It was an arduous task," said Master Sgt. Daniel Jenkins, the 167th Airlift Wing's recruiting office supervisor and Noncommissioned Officer in Charge of Student Flight, a group comprised of newly enlisted Air Guard members waiting to attend basic military training.
Sgt. Jenkins said the volunteers worked more than six hours on the School House Ridge North Project off Bakerton Road in Harpers Ferry helping to "weed whack" and remove an old barb wire fence that had grown into a tree there.
"It was a fantastic opportunity for the Air Guard and park service to work together," Sgt. Jenkins said.
Jessica T. Liptak, Volunteers, Community Outreach & Partnerships coordinator
for Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, was impressed by the work ethic that members of the Student Flight brought to the endeavor. In a letter addressed to Maj. Melissa Shade, chief of staff for the 167th Airlift Wing, Liptak thanked Jenkins and the Student Flight "for volunteering their time and energy" to the project. Maj. Shade helped to coordinate the effort.
Much of the land on "School House Ridge" was once occupied by Confederate Forces under the command of Gen. Stonewall Jackson, Liptak noted.
"Today, the National Park, Civil War Preservation Trust and other partners are working diligently to ensure the ridge is not developed," she wrote. "With urban and suburban sprawl threatening the Eastern Panhandle, this enormous task could not be done without volunteer support."
Members of Student Flight cleared over 150 feet of American wire fencing that was imbedded into exotic and native trees along School House Ridge North. Within the next six months, staff from the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park are slated to remove the tree line and finish construction of an historic worm fence, a type of fence that would have been found there in the 1860s.
"Every bit of volunteer help is needed" in recreating the historic view shed, Liptak said during a recent telephone interview.
Adding: "The park is going to be restoring the area and doing landscape.
Sgt. Jenkins said that members of Student Flight thought the volunteer work "cool" and wouldn't rule out more community service for the project.
"It gave them a sense of belonging and accomplishment," he said.
Liptak wrapped up her letter to Maj. Shade, noting the park service looked forward to working with Sgt. Jenkins and the Student Flight "in the not-so-distant future - perhaps the group will be the ones to construct the fence!"
Student Flight members who volunteered for the community service project were given Volunteer National Park Service pins at Saturday's UTA.