‘Do-it-yourself’ store helps Airmen maintain base facilities
By Senior Airman Kristina Overton, 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 27, 2013
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- With the various Air Force budget constraints, Airmen have had to find new and innovative ways to complete the mission. From building renovation projects to simple base beautification, it's become more and more common for individuals to take on these tasks instead of contracting them out.
One of the ways they do this is through 'do-it-yourself' programs like the Civil Engineer Self Help Program, which encourages Airmen to be proactive and take initiative to get things done.
"Some of the work orders that we see come in are minor maintenance items within a facility, such as broken towel holders, light bulbs, shower heads or ceiling tiles," said Tech. Sgt. Tony Anderson, 51st Civil Engineer Squadron Mongrel Self Help Store NCO in charge. "These items can easily be fixed by individuals or facility managers, and the process is easy. Reality is, with the different constraints, CE may not be able to get to everything as quickly. For those minor issues, instead of waiting, we provide the resources for Airmen to expedite the process and do those odd jobs."
According to Air Force Pamphlet 32-1098, the CE Self Help Program is a highly effective alternative for managing limited resources, providing base organizations the opportunity to improve their facilities on their own. The program assists to improve facilities and fosters pride and ownership in constrained budget environments.
"I definitely encourage people to take advantage of this program and the self-help store here on base," Anderson said. "We have these items available for Airmen and dependents that need them and I can give quick instructions on how to do different projects for those who aren't knowledgeable. Airmen just need to coordinate through their facility or dorm managers. Overall, it just saves time and money, and a little effort can go a long way."
The program was fashioned after a similar version in 1976, due to funding and manpower limitations, where an individual or organization could not get necessary but low priority work accomplished by a desired date. In those instances, the requester had the option of deferring the work or furnishing the labor and material.
A team of members from the 51 CES operations support section also recently participated in the program to assist with a carpet replacement project at the Mongrel Self Help Store. Volunteers came in on the weekend to assist in the effort, providing in-house manpower for much needed renovations to the facility.
"It was a good experience and we had a lot of fun despite the fact that we came in on a weekend," said Senior Airman Michaela Hughes, 51st CES operations support section customer service representative. "I learned about how to re-carpet a floor, which is a skill that I'll have for the rest of my life and was surprisingly easy. Everyone worked together and we accomplished our goal pretty fast. It felt good being able to give back to the squadron and the base."
The store also offers a variety of other items to include ceiling tiles, carpeting, paint, all weather strips, screws, anchors, bulletin boards, power tools, carpentry tools, lawn care products, paint brushes, shops vacuums and industrial size steam cleaners.
The Mongrel Self Help Store is located in the CE customer support, Bldg. 657 and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. For more information, contact Tech. Sgt. Tony Anderson at 784-8498.