Mayor Rawlings-Blake Thanks Maryland National Guard for Fire Station Renovation Project
Tuesday Jun 18th, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BALTIMORE, Md. (JUNE 18, 2013) — Today, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake joined Peter C. Hinz, Assistant Adjutant General of Maryland for the U.S. Army, Maryland National Guard, to celebrate a kitchen renovation project at the Baltimore City Fire Department’s stationhouse for Engine 45. The project, led by members of the Maryland National Guard’s 244th Engineer Company, is the first in a newly developed partnership between the City of Baltimore and the Maryland National guard to renovate firehouses throughout the city. In August 2012, the 244th Engineer Company reached out to the Office of the Mayor to identify opportunities for the company to conduct innovative readiness training projects in the city. The office identified fire departments with old kitchens in need of remodeling. In some cases, firefighters had stopped cooking in their kitchens due to the poor condition of the stoves and sinks. These projects will allow firefighters eat home-cooked meals and fully utilize the kitchens in their stations. “We are grateful to the Maryland National Guard for working with us to find training opportunities for soldiers and to improve the conditions in our aging firehouses,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. “It is a natural partnership for us, because our first responders often train with Guard members to prepare for natural and manmade disasters.” "As a community-based organization, the Maryland Army National Guard is happy to support our neighbors in the Baltimore Fire Department," said General Hinz. "The firefighters' selfless service stands as a model for us all. If this gesture improves their readiness and morale, we will all benefit." Engine 45, located in Northwest Baltimore on Glenn Avenue, was built in 1951. It is one of the last firehouses in the region to host an annual holiday train garden.The 244th Engineer Company gutted the kitchen, cleaned it, painted the ceiling, and installed cabinets, countertops and fixtures. New fixtures include a sink, garbage disposal, stove, range hood, and seven electrical outlets. The materials were provided by the city, and all labor was provided by the National Guard. The 244th Engineer Company was activated in 2006 during a nation-wide reorganization, replacing the 253rd Utilities Detachment. The birth of the 244th coincided with the standing-down of the 121st Engineer Battalion, Maryland’s combat engineer force for over half a century. Since 2006, the unit has responded to a variety of natural disasters, including Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Super Storm Sandy in 2012. The unit also supported schoolhouse missions in the Dominican Republic and El Salvador as part of their 2010 and 2011 annual training. The unit received the Army Superior Unit Award for its support of the 2009 presidential inauguration. The 244th Engineer Company is scheduled to provide construction support in Afghanistan, starting in November 2013. Currently, the company expects to be building infrastructure for the Afghan National Army. The company departs later this year for five weeks of training at Camp Shelby, Missouri. The deployment departure ceremony is scheduled for September 28, 2013.