“Keep Inalajan clean. Please do not litter.” As Eric and I enjoyed our ride around the island, the appealing yardsticks popped up throughout the village. Their continuous appearance had me thinking that Inalajan is probably the largest village, land-wise.
Endless lush greenery befriends the winding roads treating visitors to historic homes, dancing waves, natural pools and reconstructed cultural experiences. In fact, this village was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.
There is St. Joseph’s Church and San Isidro Church. There is the Inalahan public health center, a UOG agricultural station, fire station, wastewater treatment plant, Gef Pa’go Cultural Village, post office and a cemetery.
There is Inalahan Elementary and Inalajan Middle School. Perhaps, one of our biggest mistakes was closing Inalajan High. That was a directive as Southern High became the high school for our southern families. But every time I think of that decision, I wish we were able to keep Inalahan High and Oceanview High open.
Then governor Joseph Ada was very excited about creating a facility that was to be a shining jewel for the south. Inundated with maintenance issues, it never transpired. But fortunately, brainpower, cultural awareness and southern pride keep achievement strong and vibrant. While buildings make a difference, the people make a bigger difference.
Back to the blue and white signs. Such a simple strategy. It’s also smart and effective.
It emanates from the current leadership of Inalajan, Mayor Anthony P. Chargualaf. During a recent visit, he shared his dreams for the 2,273 Inalahan residents.
A believer in pragmatic leadership, Mayor Chargualaf is definitely boots on the ground. Personally engaging in customer service for his families, he believes in stakeholder leadership. “Together We Can” is a Chargualaf chorus.
Perhaps it’s the skill sets he learned as a Guam Air National Guard or the organizational leadership he developed through his 30 years at Guam Waterworks Authority, where he succeeded as a wastewater maintenance worker, operations and maintenance manager of operations, and assistant general manager, that sets him up as a visionary, hands-on, enthusiastic, focused leader. Further, it’s clear he enjoys his work.
Mayor Chargualaf envisions giving back to the community by providing job opportunities. In place is tapping residents to mentor others in their skill sets, such as plumbing, electrical work and AC systems. He is partnering with Guam Trades Academy to provide apprenticeship programs.
Mayor Chargualaf is driven to provide a safe environment for families. He has facilitated driver’s license classes. He believes the ability to get to work will strengthen job success, which will also strengthen family safety, health and happiness.
He believes a safe environment includes clearing debris and vegetation from the roadways. Department of Public Works bus drivers cheered the roadside cleanup, which helps safeguard their fleet and students.
He provides tax preparation support for the manamko, receiving the documents and delivering them to a tax preparation company.
As he understands the significance of internet, he is working on developing the Senior Citizen Center into a WiFi hub. He turned on the lights at the current basketball court. The village also celebrated the groundbreaking for a new basketball court.
He and his team have distributed food commodities to families and are excited about their community garden that is sprouting eggplants and tomatoes. Providing families with seedlings as a way to “teach them how to fish” is his belief.
Partnership could be Mayor Chargualaf’s middle name. They have partnered with local businesses which have provided pre-cut drums perfect for barbecuing. They have partnered with Signs and Signals Driver’s Education and partnered with a company owned by Wayne Merrill who taught a course on technology and participants took home a tablet. A private company has stepped forward to design, procure, and set up an LED informational board that will welcome visitors and update residents.
Guam is blessed to have Mayor Anthony P. Chargualaf join our hard-working mayors of Guam – the leaders who make a difference. Si Yu'us ma'åse'.
Aline Yamashita is a mom, a teacher and former senator. She served in the 31st and 32nd Guam Legislatures. You may write to her at email@example.com.