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Pueblo school benefits from Buckley’s old technology

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The 8th Space Warning Squadron recently donated about 50 computer systems, an approximate $14,000 value, to Morton Elementary School part of the Pueblo City Schools.

Classrooms that had one or two computers in them will now have at least five up-to-date systems along with a computer lab consisting of 32 computers. More than 500 students will be affected by the advanced technology, providing a better academic environment.

"We are very appreciative of the opportunity to have technology accessible for our students," Principal Floyd Gallegos wrote in a thank you letter to the squadron. "Thank you for all your diligent efforts in making this process work for us and your patience with our district in trouble shooting the many road blocks that occurred."

The lengthy process, which started in April 2012, was well worth it, according to Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Achuff, 8 SWS satellite systems operator. Achuff was a part of the team that helped wipe all the hard drives clean and ensured the school received them.

The school had been struggling to get new equipment, according to Achuff, and during the delivery there was lots of energy and excitement because the faculty was so happy.

"They were all thrilled. The systems we delivered are old by our standards but for the kids and faculty they were much improved and new," stated Achuff. "I had just backed the van up to the doors and some kids were coming in from lunch recess when one of the kids, with eager anticipation in her voice, asked one of the teachers there, 'Are those the new computers?'

'They sure are... I told you we'd get some new ones,' said the teacher. The little girl said 'Awesome!' with a high-pitched, excited tone."

The first step was replacing 8 SWS's old computer systems with new ones. The computers still considered functional had their hard drives wiped clean, a requirement before the school could have them. Wiping the hard drive is a several hour process per computer.

Lots and lots of paperwork was needed to complete the transfer. According to Senior Master Sgt. Robert Pacheco, 8 SWS first sergeant, the most crucial part of the transfer is to make sure the organization has a non-profit contact and somebody is willing to sign for the equipment to ensure the equipment is not sold and a profit is never made.

"You just can't give up because you're going to run into some road blocks, but you just got to keep working with people," Pacheco said. "These kids without technology are falling further behind."

Achuff stated that he believes more Air Force units should strive to donate their old equipment if possible.

"Put them to good use and enrich the learning environment for the next generation of leaders, including possible future Airmen," Achuff stated.
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