Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Soldiers Aid Business Owners In Al-Bawi

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Soldiers of the 489th Civil Affairs Battalion provided financial aid to local business owners in al-Bawi, Iraq, to boost entrepreneurship April 5.

The civil affairs team, currently attached to 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, visited three business owners and provided them with $500 each to facilitate improvements to their stores.

The team visited the row of stores in al-Bawi earlier in the week and chose the three stores they designated for the grants.

The stores chosen were a snack and drink shop, an air conditioning repair shop and a construction supply store that also sells swamp cooler filters and tubing. The owners already have plans for their money. Air conditioners and fans, refrigerators, shelving units and trade-specific tools will be purchased in the near future, according to the shop owners.

During the business stimulus operation, Soldiers were accompanied by Selam Nassif Jassim, the local Sons of Iraq leader. Jassim verified the identity of each store owner and talked to the businessmen to ensure the money will be spent to meet the intent of the small business program.

“This small amount of money goes a long way towards re-energizing the shops in al-Bawi,” said Maj. John Wolfe, from Scottsboro, Ala., a 489th CA team leader.

Coalition forces and SoI members will visit the shops in the future for inspections to make certain the financial aid is being used appropriately. The 489th CA Battalion, from Knoxville, Tenn., and the 1-15th Inf. Regt. are attached to the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Benning, Ga. The 3rd HBCT has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March 2007.

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