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National guard helps out with Douglas D

by Merrie Leininger, Record-Courier staff writer

After months of fund-raising, planning and back-breaking work, the Douglas “D” has been completed.

“This has been a long process. I think everybody’s relieved it’s done,” said Douglas High School Letterman’s Club adviser Ernie Monfiletto. “This was a testament to overcoming adversity and teamwork. If the students use the same energy in all our sports, Douglas High would have very successful teams this year.”

The Douglas High School Letterman’s Club decided early in the school year one of its main community service projects would be to fix up the “D” that sits on the hillside above town. However, club members wanted to move it and use white rocks so it wouldn’t have to be repainted so often.

That decision is what caused so many delays. The club was able to find a place to put the “D” near Kingsbury Grade with the help of landowners Dan and Laura Hickey. All the materials were donated by Carson Valley Garden and Ranch, Home Depot and Meeks Lumber, but the area was hard to get to and the white rocks were extremely heavy.

A couple of months ago, a group of about 40 students started the work, but couldn’t complete it because of those obstacles.

That is when they asked for help from the Nevada Army National Guard out of the Reno-Stead Airport. A group of six guardsmen turned the community service project into a training session. On Wednesday, the crew came out in a Blackhawk helicopter to airlift the rock most of the way up the hill.

“Lifting the rock was essentially the same maneuver as if we were lifting medical supplies in a real-world mission. But at the same time, were were doing some community support efforts,” said Sgt. Pat Moore, part of the helicopter crew and a 1981 graduate of Douglas High.

Monfiletto said he was very thankful for the guard’s help.

Moore said two other members of the guard crew, coach Rick Booth and alumni Craig Robison, were glad to be a part of the project.

“It was nice to make the new D and help out the students. It was also good training for the whole crew,” Moore said.

Many Nevada high schools have placed their initials on nearby hillsides as a symbol of their school.

Moore said the guard has done similar training/community service projects in the past. Last year, the helicopter crew airlifted abandoned cars out of the Peavine Mountain area.

Monfiletto said the DHS football team and coach Mike Rippee, Douglas County Search and Rescue and East Fork Fire also helped finish the job.