by Tara Walker
U.S. Army Reserve 1st Lt. Joel Scott of the 994 Engineer Company gave a presentation at the Board of County Commissioners meeting on August 1 to explain the unique partnership between the 994 Engineer company and YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch in Grand County.
The Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) program gives soldiers an opportunity to assist nonprofit organizations with building projects. Soldiers started rotations in Grand County on June 11 and the last rotation ends this week. Over 140 soldiers worked on multiple YMCA building projects in 2 week rotations with 30 to 35 soldiers working at a time.
Scott explained, “Innovative Readiness Training allows reserve units to do construction work in the community while getting excellent training. The community gets free labor and soldiers get the opportunity to reach out to the community and give a positive presence. Start to finish, it’s Army engineers working for the YMCA.”
The Board of County Commissioners is happy with this partnership for Grand County. While RTI is currently working with YMCA in Grand County, other nonprofit organizations can apply for future partnership opportunities. Grand County Manager Lee Staab supports IRT as well, “I participated in the program many years ago, when I was on active duty. This is a great opportunity for the soldiers to interface with the public in Grand county and show them that the Army conducts other business that benefits the citizens of the USA”.
The next time you visit YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch, you will see quality projects that were completed by dedicated, knowledgeable and hardworking soldiers. The 994 Engineer Company completed work on a staff bathhouse renovation, built both a small and large shade structure, as well as a small and large storage shed.
The soldiers leave behind a legacy for future families to enjoy at Snow Mountain Ranch and have gained valuable training and memories. Lt. Scott smiled as he explained what he enjoyed most about the experience, “The environment was the best part of this experience. I am not a Colorado native and being in the mountains is wonderful. It’s a great opportunity for our soldiers that don’t get a chance to be in the mountains. The community has been great to us, shown great support and thanked us.”