National Guard from Kansas bring timber to Red Shirt Table
A Kansas National Guard unit here for the Golden Coyote exercise is hauling timber to the Pine Ridge Reservation. An act that is not uncommon during the training.
A huge role National Guard soldiers play is being an advocate to the community and bringing timber to the reservation is part of it.
"The National Guard are citizen soldiers. So being part of the community and being a soldier is part of the job. This gives us a chance to give back to the community and work with the community as well as learning some war-fighting skills," says Billy Williams a Staff Sergeant with the Kansas National Guard.
For the locals, the use of the timber is widespread. For heating homes in the winter, building fences and ceremonial reasons.
"It's fun to watch them unload and watch them go by. Every summer people look forward for them to bring in the wood," says Peter Bissonette a Red Shirt Table resident.
The unit from Kansas, has done this project for three years. They say the experience is rewarding and something they hope to continue.
"It's a good experience, it's good training for the Kansas Guard. It's rewarding to help communities across the United States," says Shaun Phillips a Sergeant with Kansas National Guard.
As the convoy pulls out, these men and women leave with more experience and a feeling they have made a difference.