MORON DE LA FRONTERA, Spain --
Marines and sailors with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response finished renovations on Saint Francis of Assisi Parish in Moron De La Frontera, Spain July 11, 2013.
The project, which began in May, took more than 700 man-hours to complete and renovated locations within the parish, including a classroom for school-aged children, a preparation chamber, a food pantry and the sanctuary.
The parish was established in 1756 and required painting scraping and some surface work on many of its walls. The work was performed at no cost to the parish or the Marine Corps, but rather with volunteer donations.
“When we arrived, we were in awe of the artwork and the age of the building,” said Staff Sgt. Anthony Davis, the SP-MAGTF CR logistics chief. “While the church wasn’t in terrible shape, there was a lot of work to do.”
The Marines and sailors worked in teams to scrape away old paint, patch-up holes and rough surfaces in the walls and add a fresh coat of paint to the rooms.
“It was an incredible experience to work in a place that I would consider a work of art and to have a hand in that building’s repair is like leaving my mark on its history,” said Hospital Corpsman Courtland Williams, a SP-MAGTF CR corpsman.
The effort did not go without notice, according to Father Pedro Jimenez Barros, pastor of the parish. The parishioners were impressed with the how fast the work was completed.
“The parishioners really value the fact that military personnel dedicated time to help others without any obligation, but because they feel like doing so,” said Jimenez Barros. “They were touched to see the human side of the U.S. Armed Forces.”
As SP-MAGTF CR moves forward, the Marines and sailors hope to have more opportunities to help their new neighbors in the local community.
“This has been one of the highlights of my deployment here and I hope it shows that no matter where we go, we are always glad to lend a helping hand,” Williams, a St. Louis native added.
SP-MAGTF Crisis Response is a rotational force of Marines and sailors sourced from a variety of units from II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C., temporarirly positioned on Moron Air Base, Spain, capable of decisive action across a range of military operations.