BATTLE CREEK, Mich., Feb. 19, 2021 —
Christian Military Academy, in Vega Baja, became the first Puerto Rican school to screen, select and receive donation property from Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services sites in the continental U.S. in 2020.
The K-12 prep school is located on the northern coast of the island, just west of San Juan. The school and entire region suffered serious devastation when the eye of Hurricane Maria passed through in late 2017.
According to Raul Rivera, who serves as the school’s special projects director, sections of the school’s roof were torn away, flooding the buildings. Furniture, equipment and teaching materials were destroyed. Students had to avoid whole sections of ruined classrooms to keep out of the rain when school resumed after the storm.
In 2018, the academy signed up for the General Services Agency’s federal surplus property program to try and replace some of its losses. Rivera said the school scrambled to locate some “badly needed” generators available through the Alabama State Surplus Property Office. When Rivera traveled to Alabama for the generators, he said SASP official Shane Bailey encouraged him to enroll in GSA’s federal excess property program, which would allow the school to gain access to surplus DOD and federal agency equipment.
After signing up through the Puerto Rico SASP office, the first item the school requisitioned was an International 28-passenger bus available from a Veteran’s Administration hospital in Ohio.
In 2019, Rivera visited a handful of DLA Disposition Services sites to screen property, including the Susquehanna site in Pennsylvania. Rivera ended up requesting more than a dozen pallets of surplus equipment for the school, including clothing, electronics, medical equipment, hospital beds, and kitchen equipment like fryers and ovens.
Eventually, the property requisitioned through DLA was shipped from Pennsylvania and added to a consolidation point in Alabama that included laptops and scientific equipment donated from U.S. Food and Drug Administration excess.
Rivera cited both the Puerto Rico and Alabama SASP offices and DLA Disposition Services field staff and thanked them for their patient assistance and many contributions as the school navigated the donation process for the first time.