John F. Kennedy reading room photo exhibition "Taking A Break From Training To Lend A Helping Hand"

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Photo by Augusts Zilberts
Photo by Augusts Zilberts

For many years now, the U.S. Military together with the Latvian Ministries of Health and the Interior have renovated and refurbished emergency response stations, fire stations, kindergartens and other vital infrastructure throughout Latvia, being a great benefit to all who live in Latvia. Via these projects, which started in 2007, over 7 million US dollars have been invested. There are more in the pipeline and a photo exhibition of these works will be on the display here, at the National Library of Latvia, John F. Kennedy Reading Room (level 3), till February 2017. Free entrance.

In addition the soldiers have some time off and an itch to devote their time and muscles. Since the Ukraine crisis began and the first rotating U.S. troops arrived in Latvia through "Operation Atlantic Resolve", U.S. soldiers and sailors have assisted in over 30 community outreach programs involving hundreds of troops directly engaging and helping some of the most disenfranchised segments of the Latvian population. Many of these projects have involved soldiers felling, sectioning, splitting, and stacking firewood for heating of orphanages, foster homes, social care centers, and boarding schools for underprivileged children. In Latvia, most orphanages, social centers, and rural schools are heated by wood burning stoves. These projects give the soldiers a way to fulfill a very practical need for these institutions and following the work, to interact directly with Latvian youth, many of whom have never met an American. This photo exhibition also includes photographs from the "Dragoon Ride" troop and equipment movement which made several stops in Latvia in the summer of 2016. In the Latgale towns and cities of Rēzekne, Daugavpils, Malta, Varakļāni, and Ludza the U.S. Army played soccer against the local school teams and afterwards taught the kids how to play American touch football!