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Pavilion Construction and Other Community Service Projects Part of Spring FTX

Students do community work for spring field training exercises at VMI, a military college in Virginia

Non-commissioning cadets assist the Timber Framers in erecting a pavilion at Brewbaker Field Sports Complex in Lexington during spring FTX. -VMI Photo by H. Lockwood McLaughlin

LEXINGTON, Va. April 10, 2023 — Spring field training exercises (FTX) were held March 31 through April 4 on and off post. Events included ROTC training as well as community service projects for non-commissioning cadets.  

Community service projects brought assistance to organizations such as Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity, Lime Kiln Theater, Health Center Bull Oyster Fest, Waddell Elementary School Garden, Rockbridge SPCA, Boxerwood Nature Center and Woodland Garden, Virginia Museum of Civil War, and Timber Framers.   

The Timber Framers Club erected a pavilion at Brewbaker Field Sports Complex in Lexington. The club, which provides cadets with timber frame building skills, was started in 1997 by Col. Grigg Mullen ’76, professor emeritus of civil engineering. He had many engineering students who learned best by hands on training.

“I didn’t want to lose these talented students when we started to focus simply on design, so I started this club so they could see the finished product of their work. The community projects get the cadets off post and allow them to meet a lot of wonderful people and make connections,” he said. 

The pavilion’s main beneficiary is Rockbridge Area Recreation Organization (RARO), since they use Brewbaker field to play football, soccer, baseball, and softball. Lexington Lacrosse and USSSA baseball and softball use the field as well.  “This property had no shelter and tons of people use it. The pavilion fulfills a huge need. Parents will be able to sit out of the sun, and watch their kids play ball,” said Chad Coffey, RARO executive director. 

Frederick Myers ’24, a civil engineering major and cadet in charge of the Timber Framers Club said the project is a good way for cadets to help the community. “I have met a lot of great people on this project. I’ve learned a lot. It’s been a wonderful experience.”  

In four days, with the help of 120 volunteers including the cadets, VMI alumni, professionals wanting to share their knowledge, and trade school students, the project was completed.

“Many of these folks travel from long distances to help us with these projects. They come from Canada, Chicago, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. It’s amazing they come year after year, and we appreciate them. We all look forward to getting together each year to help non-profits, who could never afford to pay for these projects,” said Mullen. 

The timber for the project was donated by Blue Ridge Lumber in Fishersville. The slab was provided by RARO and paid for by a grant.  

For more photos of this event, visit VMI's Tumblr account.

Marianne Hause
Communications & Marketing

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