By Earl Bittner, NAVFAC Southeast Public Affairs Office
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama (NNS) -- A donation ceremony was held Feb. 13 for the turnover of a newly-constructed and outfitted disaster relief warehouse (DRW).
Ceremony participants included the Right Honorable Perry Christie, prime minister of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, and Gen. Charles H. Jacoby, Jr., commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command (NORAD and USNORTHCOM), with attendees including Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southeast's Tim Ryczek, engineering technician with Naval Air Station Jacksonville public works department (PWD).
Christie offered his sincere thanks and gratitude to the United States government and noted that the donation goes a long way in helping the Bahamas' emergency relief efforts and ensures the Bahamas is better equipped to proactively address preventative measures for disaster mitigation.
"The United States and the Bahamas have a long history of friendship with each other. Throughout that history, our governments have partnered on many efforts together and the U.S. has always been kind to us," said Christie. "I firmly believe that this warehouse will be most beneficial to the people of Grand Bahama and the islands that are situated in the Northern Bahamas. We are happy that the warehouse project has been successfully completed. I sincerely promise that my government will do its best to use it to its fullest."
"This warehouse is an example of our shared safety and security concerns and illustrates how fundamentally important citizen safety is to our two nations," said Jacoby during his first official visit to Grand Bahama. "It is a true honor for us to play a part in supporting you in a most sacred endeavor - to never be late in helping your citizens when disaster strikes."
The $895,489 contract was designed and constructed under a NAVFAC Southeast contract awarded Sept. 12, 2012.
"I was very fortunate to be involved in this ceremony and felt extremely proud to have been a part of this project," said Ryczek. "Sometimes it is difficult to envision the impact of these contingency engineering projects during project development and execution. It is even more diffcult to get a sense of the appreciation felt by the receipients of these humanitarian assistance projects."
"This event was certainly indicative of the appreciation of the Bahamian people and their government. The potential impact this project will have in serving the northern Bahamian people with a level of disaster preparedness is huge and will provide them a level of preparedness they have never had in their history," said Ryczek.
The DRW has 4,800 square feet and is equipped with an office meeting space, a secure storage space of 180 square feet, restrooms, warehouse pilot storage, 40 pallet racks, a 20-kilowatt gas generator and auto transfer switch and a 1,000-gallon rainwater storage tank.
"During my stay in Freeport I got a sense that the community felt a little safer knowing that the DRW was there to serve them in time of disaster," said Ryczek.