NEWS | May 9, 2013

Virginia Guard officer candidates clean up for local charity

By Staff Sgt. Terra C. Gatti JFHQ Public Affairs

Officer candidates from the Virginia National Guard’s Officer Candidate School worked together May 4, 2013, clearing debris, mowing grass, trimming hedges and blowing leaves at two homes operated by a local charity called SupportOne, as part of their class community project. Twelve OCs participated in the event, dubbed “Extreme Yard Makeover Day,” and made use of tools and equipment lent by a local landscaping firm co-owned by one of the candidates.

SupportOne is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting independence for adults with intellectual disabilities through individualized support and services. The organization operates homes in the City of Richmond, as well as in both Chesterfield and Henrico county and provides services for 28 residents, with four to six residents inhabiting each of the organization’s six homes.

“Partnerships like this are just huge,” said Richard Schultz, executive director for SupportOne.

OC Josh Hillsman, officer in charge for the project, had worked with SupportOne previously and contacted Schultz about working with the organization for the candidate’s required community service project.

“I couldn’t believe how well his vision fit with what we needed,” Schultz said, of Hillsman plan for the project.

The OCs worked on two properties, one in the city of Richmond and one in Chesterfield, and transformed the property exteriors in a matter of hours.

“It’s just amazing how quickly it came together,” Schultz said. “It’s not even going to look like the same house when they’re done.”

The candidates belong to Class 55 and are on track to graduate OCS in October.

“I just want to thank the National Guard for coming out,” said Schultz. “We never, ever would have been able to do this on our own and it’s really special to see these guys coming in and transforming this place.”

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