OLS team receives support from local schools

PENITAS, Texas -- Each year, hundreds of Texans come from all over the state to help their fellow Texans in Operation Lone Star, but the operation would not be successful without the support of the local communities. One of the biggest ways the local community plays a role in Operation Lone Star is by providing the teams a place to work, and in Penitas, Texas, that means Dr. Javier Saenz Middle School. "The support we've received from this school and the La Joya Independent School District has been tremendous," said Texas State Guard Capt. Gene Doggett, Peniats MIRTTS operations officer. "The staff hasn't hesitated once to help us with anything we've needed." "From day one the school staff has been very helpful," agreed Texas State Guard Senior Master Sgt. Brandon Clark, intelligence and security non-commissioned officer in charge. "Everyday they arrive early and have the doors open and the school ready the moment we get here." While setting up the Medical Innovative Readiness Training Team Site (MIRTTS) at the school, the team realized they did not have enough tables for the registration area. "I asked the assistant principal for more tables, and within 10 minutes the tables were set up and ready, right where we needed them," Doggett said. The Joint Incident Site Communications Capability-Lite Team also received help during setup. "Every time we needed something, the staff has dropped whatever they were doing to help out," said Air Force Tech. Sgt. John Park, JISCC-L team member. "We had to run a cable down the hall to the Pharmacy that we couldn't just lay on the ground because it would pass by too many doors and be too easy to trip over," Park said. "We asked a staff member for a ladder and within minutes she was dragging it down the hall by herself to bring it to us." As the Penitas MIRTTS continues to see a steady flow of customers, much of the smooth operation can be attributed to the help of the staff of Dr. Javier Saenz Middle School. "I think that this is a valuable operation that we're involved in. It helps the community and makes them aware that there are people who are willing and able to help out," Park concluded. "We would not be able to do this without the help of the men and women at this school." The MIRTTS in Penitas is scheduled to be open through Friday, when the team will move to a new location near Laredo, Texas. For more information on Operation Lone Star, visit http://www.hhs.state.tx.us/.