LUTIFIYAH, Iraq â€“ Local sheiks, villagers and Soldiers of the 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division held a ceremony, Feb. 28, for the installation of a coalition-funded, solar-powered water filter to purify the villageâ€™s water.
The $5,300 project was funded by the Commanderâ€™s Emergency Relief Program.
The water purifier was delivered and set up adjacent to a water canal on a farm and some of the local sheiks as well as villagers gathered near the canal to view a demonstration on how the purifier works.
â€œThis is an important contribution that means a lot to the Iraqi people. We have worked with the coalition [forces] in the past, and Iâ€™m glad our relationship is continuing,â€ said Sheik Hamid Turkey, a local area tribal leader.
Local area leaders chose the location in Lutifiyah because the water purifier will be available for use by 150 to 200 people who will now have access to clean potable water. The local leaders also chose the sight because of security reasons. It has the direct oversight of Sons of Iraq checkpoints, so concerns of it being stolen are minimal.
The water purifier is cost efficient because it is charged by the sun, and allows the local Iraqi people to have clean water available to them, which they did not have in the past.
â€œI think itâ€™s really great for the Soldiers of the scout platoon/sniper section to be able to give this water filter to a group of local nationals who do not enjoy the same privileges we have had growing up [in the United States]. I had not seen anything like this filter before. The system is really cool,â€ said Spc. Kevin Stroud, a Soldier of the scout platoon, and a native of Dallas, Texas.
1-63 CAB has partnered with local sheiks in the villages of the Mahmudiyah Qada, which includes Lutifiyah, for the emplacement of six solar powered water purifiers in the past several months. The 1-63 CAB troops plan to place more water filters in the future in different areas of the Mahmudiyah Qada, and have other future projects planned for the Lutifiyah area as well.
â€œIt is important to help the Iraqi people have sources of clean water. It is also beneficial for the relationship weâ€™re trying to build, because it is a sign of trust to them,â€ said 1st Lt. Henry Brewster, scout platoon leader, Company A, 1-63 CAB and a native of Youngstown, Ohio.
Story by Jamie Vernon