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By 2nd Lt. Joel Biamont
628th Civil Engineer Squadron
JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. – On September 25th, 25 members of the 628th Civil Engineer Squadron gathered in nearby Ridgeville, S.C., to partner with the Edisto-Natchez Kussoe Tribe during a quarterly volunteer event.
The team demolished and reconstructed two floors in homes that failed due to age and high moisture conditions in the Lowcountry.
This event was the fourth engagement and marked the one-year anniversary of the squadron’s partnership to provide manpower and expertise to support the tribe in making home repairs for residents in dire need.
The 628th CES’s partnership with the tribe began when Jacqueline Melcher, former 628th CES/CEI flight chief, proposed the idea in recognition and support of Native American Heritage Month.
Wing and squadron leadership were quick to support the initiative. The 628th CES installed new roofing on the tribe’s community center and constructed a new deck for one of the tribe members. Since that first event, the squadron’s quarterly volunteer events have only grown in scope and involvement.
The Edisto-Natchez Kussoe Tribe is recognized by the State of South Carolina through the Commission of Minority Affairs and was formed from the Kussoe and Natchez people. The Kussoe are native to the South Carolina Lowcountry, with a documented history that predates the 1670 settlement of Charleston by English colonists.
The Natchez originated from Mississippi but were driven to North Carolina after a war with the French in 1720. A group of the Natchez people travelled to Charleston in hopes of gaining the protection of the English. The tribe officially adopted the name “Edisto” in 1970, which captures the name of the Edisto River and the lands that were granted to the Kussoe in 1700.
Moving forward, the squadron hopes the events continue to foster meaningful relationships promoting a warrior heart mindset aimed at developing Airmen, while giving back to members of the Edisto Natchez Tribe.