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Jun 19, 2012 8:17 PM by Andy Koen

Cadets help Navajo reservation through summer construction program

Cadets at the US Air Force Academy who are studying to become civil engineers are spending part of their summer break working.

As part of the Field Engineering Readiness Lab, cadets get a hands-on feel for the construction projects they will learn to design once their classes begin in the fall.

One portion of the project involves building Hogans, eight-sided structures used by the Navajo people for religious purposes. The completed buildings are donated to a reservation in New Mexico.

Cadet Chad Harvey actually grew up on that reservation and says he's honored to be a part of the project.

"I probably know the family, if I knew their name and saw their faces, I probably know the family. Or I might see these around when I go back on leave, might drive around the reservation and see one," Harvey said.

This is the last summer that cadets will be build the Hogans specifically. The Southwest Indian Foundation, which coordinates the Hogan donation with the Academy says there is a greater need on the reservation for traditional housing. Next year the cadet will build modular homes instead.

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