DVIDS – News – USACE Charleston District employee reflects on heritage and family for Hispanic Heritage Month

CHARLESTON, SC – September 15 through October 15 is the national celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. Permanently adopted by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, the 30-day period recognizes the culture and contributions of Hispanic American citizens from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

This year’s theme is “Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Legacy and Hope”. The US Army Corps of Engineers embraces and celebrates diversity and is dedicated to ensuring equality for all soldiers, civilians and family members.

Kebeck Marielle Rosario Perez is Service Project Manager and Procurement Officer Representative for the Facilities Investment Services Contract of the 81st Preparation Division. She has been with the Corps for almost six years.

“My job is to oversee and manage the FIS contract for Army Reserve installations,” she said. “I work as a team with owner and contractor representatives to make sure contract requirements are met and facilities and systems are kept in good repair. The contractor provides preventative maintenance and repairs on items such as air conditioning systems, boilers, fire extinguishing systems, generators, cranes, which are important to Army Reserve operations and the National Guard. For example, the National Guard is working with COVID vaccinations in Puerto Rico and after Hurricane María there were issues with the power grid. It is essential that generators are properly maintained to provide continuous power to facilities, so that they can work in this vital mission. “

Rosario is currently assigned to Region P in Puerto Rico, where she is from.

“I studied mechanical engineering at the University of Puerto Rico and was inspired by my neighbor who was a mechanical engineer and my father who worked for Xerox Corporation for over 30 years,” said Rosario. “Not only did he love technology, he also loved building. We have built two wooden decks in our house. He also taught me how to use the computer and the modem. For most of my career I have worked in the construction industry with HVAC design. I was working as a Mechanical Engineer for USACE at the Fort Jackson Residence Office, performing quality assurance inspections and commissioning of HVAC systems for over six years, when the first preventive maintenance contract was awarded. . I was lucky to have the opportunity to work in this contract which opened the door to my current position.

Although Rosario never served in the military, she has ties to military service.

“I was a military wife,” she said. “My father served. My son is currently serving in the Navy. One of my daughters is in the Army Reserve and her husband is on active duty in the Army.

“This month is a time to celebrate and honor Hispanics for their contributions to American society,” Rosario said. “It is very significant that others have opened doors for me with their talents and hard work. They crossed language and cultural barriers to achieve their goals and left a legacy to be cherished. I remember in 2014 when the 65th Infantry Regiment – a unit of soldiers primarily from Puerto Rico known as the Los Borinqueneers – received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by Congress. It made me very proud.

“My family and I generally enjoy the Latin Festival in Columbia, South Carolina,” she said. “We dance to Latin music and eat Latin food. The best part is the camaraderie with our friends, we have fun. At that point, everyone becomes a family because we share the common bond of being Hispanic in the United States. “

After studying and establishing a career in STEM, Rosario can now offer guidance to the next generation.

“My advice to students interested in a career in engineering is to work hard to achieve their goals,” she said. “There is no limit to what can be accomplished if you put in the effort. Many Hispanics have already led the way, so it’s time for you to leave your legacy to others.

Date taken: 28.09.2021
Date posted: 28.09.2021 17:00
Story ID: 406235
Site: CHARLESTON, South Carolina, United States

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