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Grants help rebuild local commerce

By Elvyn Nieves Spc., 3rd BCT, 4th ID

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1st Lt. Johnathan Carter, a Frederick, Md., native, observes as a shop owner, whose store was damaged by a vehicle borne improvised explosive device, signs the contract in agreement to use the grant for the reconstruction of his business March 13. Carter serves as a platoon leader in Company D, 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad. (U.S. Army photo/Spc. Elvyn Nieves)
1st Lt. Johnathan Carter watches as a shop owner, whose store was damaged by a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device, signs a contract in agreement to use the grant for the reconstruction of his business March 13. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Elvyn Nieves)

BAGHDAD, Iraq (March 18, 2008) — Store owners whose shops were severely damaged in Sha’ab, community in northern Baghdad, by a March 10 vehicle borne improvised explosive device attack received micro grants from Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers March 13.

These micro grants will be used to help shop owners repair their businesses and to assist the economy in this northern Baghdad neighborhood. The grants are typically used for reconstruction, business supplies and other general shop needs.

Shop owners must agree to spend the money on rebuilding their businesses and not for personal use before receiving the funds.

“The purpose of the money is to help stimulate the economy,” said 1st Lt. Johnathan Carter, a Frederick, Md., native, who serves as platoon leader in Company D, 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad.

Soldiers will keep track of how the money is spent and check the receipts of what is bought to ensure the shop owner complies with the initial agreement.

“Before the VBIED went off, the market in the area was highly frequented by customers,” said Sgt. 1st Class Cordell Sherrill, a Williamsburg, Ohio, native, who serves as a platoon sergeant in the same unit. “The businesses are picking up from the incident.”

Sherrill said the people in the area are receptive to the Soldiers conducting patrols and they know it was extremists who were responsible for the attack that injured seven residents.

“The local population understands we’re out there to help protect them and they’re willing to work with us,” said Sherrill.

Sherrill said it’s a good feeling when he can help the commerce in the area.

“You can see in their eyes they’re really happy to receive help,” said Sherrill. “Now they have the opportunity to continue to improve their businesses.”