114th Fighter Wing volunteers in Poland

  • Published
  • By Capt. Amy Rittberger
  • 114th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Twenty-four members of the South Dakota Air National Guard spent a morning at the Botanical Gardens in Lodz, Poland, to help paint the perimeter fence, Sept. 13.

The guard members are currently deployed from the 114th Fighter Wing in support of Aviation Detachment 16-4, Lask Air Base, Poland, a bilateral training exercise between the U.S. and Polish forces.

Every AvDet rotation participates in a community service project to give back to the local community. This particular project was organized and advertised by the Council of Lodz at the request of the Botanical Gardens. 

A previous AvDet rotation started the painting project, but ran out of time to complete it, so the 114th Fighter Wing Airmen jumped in to help continue the project.
The Botanical Gardens was grateful for the assistance provided by the U.S. service members.

"It's saving a lot of time for us," said Katarzyna Lackowska, Botanical Gardens education specialist. "The fence is seven kilometers long, and we have a lot of ongoing work, and not enough workers [to paint the fence]."

Chief Master Sgt. Blake Parke, 114th Maintenance Group maintenance operations flight superintendent, and non-commissioned officer in charge of AvDet 16-4, sees opportunities like this as a way of saying thank you.

"Everyone that we've interacted with has been so gracious, and has helped us with everything from directions to translations, so this gives us an opportunity to give back to them," said Parke.

Even though time was limited, the 24 volunteers were able to scrape, prep and paint approximately 210 feet of fence.