Installing fun for the winter
Posted by PA1 Bill Colclough, Friday, April 7, 2017
Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Bill Colclough; Photos provided by Marine Safety Detachment Homer
With just a step outdoors in Homer, Alaska, aka “the end of the road,” hunting, fishing, hiking, skiing and off-road activities provide plenty of good times throughout spring and summer, but come winter, much of Homer’s community will have to find something fun to do indoors.
Since January 2017, members of Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Homer and local volunteers have worked to furnish and renovate the South Peninsula Athletic & Recreation Center. The project to renovate the SPARC began in the fall of 2016 on the grounds of the Homer Middle School softball field. The community of Homer used a local church for many of its recreational activities before the center was built, but the SPARC will become a multi-purpose building intended for use by families and children for indoor sports such as basketball, volleyball and soccer.
“We have been volunteering at the SPARC throughout the winter when downtime during the workday allows,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Kelly Smith, a marine science technician assigned to MSD Homer. “Its main purpose is for a place for children to play in the winter.”
Smith and his fellow crew members have rotated shifts along with their Coast Guard duties to help speed up completion of the building. For the past three months their volunteer efforts began at first light, which has been around 10 a.m. Along with local volunteers, crew members installed insulation, wall framing and drywall and helped compact the floors with multi-sport rubberized flooring.
“I have young children, so this is something my family will be able to use,” said Smith. “It should be completed any day now.”
During their normal business hours, MSD Homer and its seven crew members conduct the missions of marine environmental protection, pollution response and facility inspections for Homer’s maritime community. Port State Control and Ports, Waterways and Coastal Security missions keep their plate full as well.
“Our bread-and-butter missions are commercial fishing and passenger vessels [Domestic Vessel Inspections] most days,” said Smith. “You get a lot of satisfaction helping out the community.”
As the crew of MSD Homer and volunteers put the finishing touches on the SPARC, they help ensure fun is in store for the winter.