On the afternoon of Oct. 4 the volunteers and family members of 573d Clearance Company, Outlaws, looked back on the day with a sense of accomplishment. The landscape at the 6917 VFW Chapter had changed more than a little over the past three weeks. The backyard, once a barren wasteland lined with vehicle tracks and litter, was now a pleasant and clean area, lined with a fence of heavy poles, installed by members of the 573d Clearance Company family, to prevent vehicle traffic from destroying the organization’s property.
The fence was a response to continuous complaints of drivers damaging vehicles parked behind the VFW facility while passing through the non-parking area of the property. Previous solutions, including earthen berms and telephone poles, all failed to deter the trespassers. Sgt. Adam Drummonds, a member of the chapter and of the Outlaw family, brought the issue to his chain of command as an idea for a company community service project.
Ideas were laid after the initial assessment of the property. As an engineer company, it was only natural that initial ideas called for a complex obstacle with rows of concertina wire and anti-tank ditches, but were eventually scaled back by cooler heads.
“What the VFW needs is a simple fence, but sturdy and impenetrable to vehicle traffic,” stated one member of the planning team.
With the help of outside donations, the company was able to secure enough telephone poles, cut into four foot sections, to place around the perimeter of the VFW property in question. Using mostly hand tools and man-power, the 573d Clearance Company volunteer group, including several spouses, cut poles, dug holes and built a barrier obstacle with over 100 posts.
When asked about the purpose of the service projects, Capt. Mike Mitchell, 573d Company Commander, stated that, “it’s a way to show our appreciation to the community that supports us as well as demonstrate the importance of living the Army Values and working as a team.”
The project involved over ninety company volunteers and 12 family members who spent four and a half hours digging postholes and placing the poles. When complete, the posts formed a two foot high, 440 foot long barrier that would stop even the most determined trespasser. The Outlaws didn’t stop there, though. They also constructed a burn pit for retiring flags, a task honored by the VFW, which they surrounded by a white picket fence.
When finished, the company and family member volunteers and members of the VFW shared a barbecued meal. “The project was a resounding success!” exclaimed Lt. Cody Millhouse, who organized this company project.
The Outlaws were able to give back to the veterans of the Las Cruces community and strengthen the bonds between Soldiers, both past and present. The Outlaws look forward to the next opportunity to give back to the community.