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NEWS | Aug. 25, 2016

Carpenters at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center help build real warfare experiences

By Capt. Cynthia Hernandez 205th Press Camp Headquarters

Story by Capt. Cynthia Hernandez
205th Press Camp Headquarters

Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, Ind. - You may not have heard of Shawn Kostek and Bill LaFollette, but at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, near Butlerville, Ind. their names are well-known to the military and civilian community they support.

Kostek and LaFollette have worked together at the MUTC Carpentry Shop as Maintenance Repair 2 Journeymen (MR2) for the past 20 years. “The carpentry shop has seven employees including a supervisor and one seasonal helper,” said Kostek, a native of Cape May, N.J. “We usually start out the week by having a morning meeting and go over what projects we have for the week with our military personnel.”

Their main job is keeping Muscatatuck running smoothly for training missions. “We fix anything from preparing walls, building breachable doors and whatever else needs to be done,” said Kostek. Once the week begins and the work orders are processed, the carpentry shop comes to life. When Kostek and LaFollette are not preparing sites for a mission, they focus on special orders. “The work mostly depends on the type of request and the amount of time it will take to complete a project,” said Kostek. “Bill and I work together most of the time and we figure out how a piece should be done.”

LaFollette, a native of Milan, Ind., said he and Kostek build cabinets for the Regional Training Institute located at Camp Atterbury. “We also built some of the cabinets, display cases and a table located at the MUTC Museum,” said LaFollette. The large table in the center of the museum is built from a bowling alley wooden lane.

When building specialty items, LaFollette and Kostec add a little bit of creativity into the diagrams. Custom orders, like shadow boxes and flag displays, bookcases, benches, chess sets and cabinets reflect the skill and artistry of the carpentry shop. Military and police working dogs also benefit from LaFollette’s and Kostek’s talents. The park where the four-legged first responders train is filled with obstacles and challenges built by the carpentry shop.

Even though they do a lot of jobs around the camp and work long hours, both carpenters say they enjoy what they do. “I love working here. They let us do what we want to do and put out the best product we can,” Kostek said. “There isn’t anything we can’t do”.

LaFollette said he is glad for the opportunity to build and help them [the troops]. He also added that he wants Muscatatuck to be a better training facility. “I’ll do whatever it takes to make it a better experience here“, said LaFollette.