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NEWS | Feb. 15, 2024

Guam Guard Helps Elementary School Recover from Typhoon

By Mark Scott, Guam National Guard

DEDEDO, Guam – About 50 Soldiers and family members from the Guam National Guard’s Team Binadu gathered at Adacao Elementary School Feb. 3 with ladders, lawn tools, paintbrushes and a desire to serve. Led by Capt. Tom Borgonia and 1st Sgt. Rudel Retuyan, Team Binadu’s goal was to help the school pass an inspection that would allow it to reopen almost nine months after being damaged by Typhoon Mawar.

“We decided to do community service because it’s a way to give back, and it provides the opportunity to invite our families to join their spouses working together,” said Borgonia. “Focusing on schools will impact the community hopefully to reduce the number of schools having split sessions and transition back to normalcy.”

Borgonia and his troops belong to Bravo Company, affectionately known as Binadu — “deer” in the Chamoru Language — of the Guam National Guard’s 1-294th Infantry Regiment. They are mobilized full time under Task Force Talon of the 38th Air Defense Artillery Brigade to secure Guam’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense defensive missile system.

“We are from the National Guard, but being activated under Task Force Talon provides us the flexibility to volunteer on weekends and represent ourselves as Team Binadu,” said Borgonia.

Binadu works with the Guam Department of Education to receive a list of schools that need assistance based on their inspection date to open or remain open.

Janice Chargualaf, principal of Adacao Elementary, expressed her gratitude for the Soldiers of Team Binadu. 

“They did an excellent job, and our community is pleased and happy with the work they did,” said Chargualaf. “It was nice to see everyone coming together, and we need more of that on the island, especially after the typhoon and with budget constraints. Binadu made it personal to me – we are one team and one Guam.”

Team Binadu painted, cleared vegetation and debris, replaced ceiling tiles and handled other chores. Many Soldiers brought their own equipment and tools and some brought their spouses, significant others, and children to help. 

“Reinspection is next week, and hopefully, it’ll be good news,” said Chargualaf. “We think we’re almost there and we’re excited. And the Guam Guard would be the reason why if we pass.”

 

 

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