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103rd Donates ‘Tools for the Trade’

Senior Master Sgt. Shawn Roberts, superintendent, 103rd Aerospace Ground Equipment, shows tools slotted for donation to Laurence Eiden, consultant to Connecticut State Department of Education Nov. 18, 2008. The two men worked hand-in-hand throughout the day at Bradley Air National Guard Base choosing what tools to provide to various area schools.   (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Erin McNamara)

Senior Master Sgt. Shawn Roberts, superintendent, 103rd Aerospace Ground Equipment, shows tools slotted for donation to Laurence Eiden, consultant to Connecticut State Department of Education Nov. 18, 2008. The two men worked hand-in-hand throughout the day at Bradley Air National Guard Base choosing what tools to provide to various area schools. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Erin McNamara)

Laurence Eiden, consultant, Connecticut State Department of Education, smiles as he looks through the cabinets of tools being donated to area schools.  Mr. Eiden's visit to assess the donated equipment followed months of preparation by members of the 103rd Airlift Wing.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Erin McNamara)

Laurence Eiden, consultant, Connecticut State Department of Education, smiles as he looks through the cabinets of tools being donated to area schools. Mr. Eiden's visit to assess the donated equipment followed months of preparation by members of the 103rd Airlift Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Erin McNamara)

The number of tool bins being donated from the 103rd AW to the Connecticut State Department of Education Technical High School System was enough to fill the mechanic’s bay in the AGE building at Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Conn.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Erin McNamara)

The number of tool bins being donated from the 103rd AW to the Connecticut State Department of Education Technical High School System was enough to fill the mechanic’s bay in the AGE building at Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Conn. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Erin McNamara)

BRADLEY ANG BASE--East Granby, Conn. -- The sun has just started to peak, noon high. Just hot enough to work outside in a short sleeve shirt while not breaking a sweat. The humidity is rising up from the newly sprouting grass and you think to yourself, what a great Saturday to build something. You're thinking, maybe, an end table would be nice. You spend the better half of the early afternoon chasing fuzzy hibernators out the garage, all the while looking for carpentry tools you strategically dispersed for safe keeping over the winter chill. Finally, victory is yours as you compile all of the necessary tools for your project. Just then, you realize you don't have a miter box. Nevertheless, you start cutting. Eventually, you finish the end table but it looks like Homer Simpson's spice rack, cartoon-ish and barely functional. Luckily, that special someone you made the "table" for still loves you.
     Many of us can relate to this story; using the right tools is necessary for getting the job done and training with the correct tools is necessary for getting the job done right! Tools come in all shapes and sizes, all with their own specific purpose. Some tools are a mind set, some are an action, however, for the Connecticut State Department of Education Technical High School System, these tools are very real, and the tools they had were in desperate need of an upgrade.
     Like every other state agency this year, they are really short on money to buy tools for their students.
     "We were able to give them a considerable amount of tools," said Senior Master Sgt. Shawn Roberts, superintendent, 103rd Aerospace Ground Equipment.
After Bradley's recent transformation, weapons shop, restoration and reclamation, and other maintenance sections had downsized or shut down. As a result, many high quality name-brand tools were no longer needed. Instead of sending them to the Defense Reutilization Management Office to be resold to a vendor or turned into scrap metal for pennies on the dollar, they were donated to Conn. technical schools. This option returned "dollars on the penny" in service to the community.
     "We are giving them tools they were probably unaware of. Giving them tools as replacements," explained Chief Master Sgt. Albert Parent, element chief, 103rd Avionics. "So these funds can be used elsewhere."
     The donations were gathered up from the various shops and consolidated at the AGE building. Roughly $23,000 of tools were divided among the eight technical schools eligible to receive them. Of those schools, three brought their students to the base to receive the donation. This created an open the door for technical school students to come on base and see what the unit does. Some students were interested in how they could continue their technical training with the Connecticut Air National Guard.
     "Before, it was a faceless organization, now we have a link to somebody," said Laurence Eiden, automotive consultant, Connecticut State Department of Education Technical High School System. "The only thing that would hinder them now is their own initiative to succeed."
     "We have limited resources even though we are a state agency. Without these tools, it makes it difficult to train. Now they can practice assembly and disassembly with top shelf stuff," Eiden said.
     Collectively, Senior Master Sgt. Shawn Roberts, Senior Master Sgt. Craig Morris, Chief Master Sgt. Albert Parent, Capt. Thomas Olander and Mr. Laurence Eiden secured a long-lasting relationship between the Connecticut Air National Guard and the Connecticut State Department of Education Technical High School System.
     These donated tools will leave a lasting effect on these schools, positively impacting future classes.