These Soldiers Come To Heal Wounds

With the lordly Sierra Madre mountains rising behind him, Gunnery Sergeant Rodney Richards hoists cinder blocks under a punishing Guatemalan sun. Block by block, he and a dozen other U.S. Marine reservists from Illinois are painstakingly building a three-room, 170-square-meter schoolhouse for Lagunas, an impoverished farming village. Next door is the school it will replace: a small, dimly lit structure with broken windows and a rusted tin roof. Excited townspeople gather around, watching the new school's walls rise. "It's nice how they smile at us," says Richards, a software engineer in Peoria for Caterpillar Inc. He pauses to chug water from his canteen. "You can always do with a little appreciation."

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