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Air Force IRT at RCA for third time

Posted on Monday, August 19, 2013 at 10:37 am

The United States Air Force Reserve Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) Program is back to serve in the community this month for the third time.

Earlier this week, Project Manager Senior Master Sergeant Glenn Mathijs, and his crew of Airmen from throughout the northeast United States, arrived in Fayetteville to finish up the work that was begun at Riverside Christian Academy in April of 2011.

Airmen return to RCA --

RCA students are pictured here with the IRT crew (front, from left) SMSgt Glenn Matthijs, Callie Eldridge, Alana Bryant, Jackson Smith, Michael Black, SrA Edward Brem, Collin Stewart, Campbell Croft, (center) SrA Stephan Decosta, Caroline Hall, SSgt Lewis Garner, Alyssa Beckham, TSgt Paul Torres, Jimmy White, SrA Yuri Howell and SrA Jeremy Gandara. Positioned around cab are (from left) Gus Hill, Grady Byrne, Daniel Yates, A1C David Viertel, CMSgt Shawn Sexton, Alex Thompson, Kerstie Wolaver, SSgt Garrett Barsalou and Lilly Ragland.

“It’s an honor to have been given the opportunity to come back and serve this wonderful community,” Matthijs said. “Several of the Airmen on my crew have worked on the project with me last year and are very excited about being in Fayetteville again and working at Riverside Academy.”

The IRT program provides real world training opportunities for service members and units to prepare them for their wartime missions while supporting the needs of America’s communities.

The IRT program was started in 1992 when Bill Clinton challenged Americans during his presidential campaign with the “Rebuild America” initiative. As president, Clinton challenged the Department of Defense to search for innovative programs, which would serve American communities in need and provide realistic military benefits. He suggested three primary areas of emphasis, which take advantage of the unique resources and capabilities of the Department of Defense – health care, infrastructure support and youth training programs.

The work done at RCA through IRT is considered one of the program’s infrastructure support or engineering projects.

The Airmen who have worked at RCA over the past three years have helped clear land after the April 2011 tornado, worked on electrical engineering within the school building and rebuilt the school’s fieldhouse. The current crew is building a practice field for RCA’s football and soccer teams and working on several other small projects.

“The crew of Airmen who are working at RCA are staying and eating in the community and renting equipment and buying gas in the local area, so they are not only doing a great service for us at the school, but they are also putting money back into our local economy,” said James Bryant, RCA’s Head of School. “We are honored to have them on campus and thankful for their service to our country.”

“Everywhere we go in this town, we are greeted with an outpouring of sincere support, from both the children and adults. The continued support gives us all a great feeling of accomplishment and reinforces our commitment to our great country and justifies to each one of us why we wear this uniform,” said Matthijs.

RCA invites the community to its field house dedication ceremony and football game on Aug. 30 at 6 p.m. The Airmen who are currently serving at RCA and several people who helped make the IRT project at RCA a reality will be honored at the ceremony.