GREMI, Georgia - A new special needs home was unveiled here Dec. 21 during a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by the U.S. Ambassador to Georgia and a small gathering of U.S. and Georgian officials.
At the ceremony, Ambassador John Bass praised the work of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District for its dedication to bring this facility, funded by the U.S. government, to the people of this small, impoverished town about 100 miles east of Tbilisi.
"I want to recognize the work of my colleagues at the Office of Defense Cooperation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for their tireless work to ensure that the residents of Gremi have a beautiful new facility including a new school and kindergarten," the ambassador said at the event.
The new facility, constructed by Lindsay Construction Ltd. through a contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is an extension to the current special needs complex called Temi, which serves as both a home and a school for orphans, children and adults with special needs, as well as local elderly residents in poor health. Currently there are 84 residents at the Temi Special Needs Home.
"It's really a wonderful feeling to bring a brand new, purpose-built facility like this to this community," said Charles Samuel, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District Caucasus Project Office chief. This may be a small project, but itts pretty significant to this community..
The roughly $300,000 turnkey facility includes a two-story residence building including school and a multi-purpose room, a mechanical building, and a septic system structure.
The U.S. European Commandds humanitarian assistance program funded the facility, located in Gremi, once an important trading post on the Silk Road.
"This facility represents the partnership and friendship between the United States and the people of Georgia," said Bass. "The construction of the new wing of the Temi Special Needs Home embodies our continued commitment to improving the lives of one of the most vulnerable groups in any society, children and those with special needs."
Other attendees at the event included Maj. Jason S. Baker, Bilateral Affairs Officer at U.S. Embassy Tbilisi; Nika Kvashali, Director of Temi Special Needs Home; Tamar Manjavidze, Georgian Minister of Labor, Health and Social Affairs; and Levan Gamsakhurdia, Chief of the Government of Kvareli Region.