Hampton native Khyle Dixon grew up lounging on the beach and playing basketball around Fort Monroe.
On Monday at the fort, Dixon ditched the basketball for a hammer. He, along with four other crew members, began repairing the exterior of a building on Bernard Road near the Casemate Museum.
The work is part of HOPE (Hands-On Preservation Experience), a national program that connects young people from across the country by having them preserve and restore structures on public land.
“When I found out about this being in Fort Monroe, I got excited because I go here like every single day,” Dixon said. “I thought it was a good option to give back to what I like because I utilize Fort Monroe all the time.”
The other members of the team include Lorenzo Bright, a Florida State University graduate; Terrance Jernigan, an Old Dominion University student; Linwood Johnson, a Virginia State University student; and Ann Rogers, a William and Mary graduate.
The assignment at Fort Monroe marks the 100th project for HOPE, which honored the occasion Monday with a group of leaders from the area and the organization. They spoke outside the project site about Fort Monroe and HOPE, which began in 2014 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
HOPE’s first project was restoring stables at Shenandoah National Park. The organization since has trained more than 600 people, according to Terry E. Brown, National Trust for Historic Preservation executive vice president.
Other projects have been completed in places like Wyoming, New Mexico, Michigan and Yorktown’s Colonial National Historic Park in 2015.
In total, HOPE crews have done 80,000 hours of labor for $14.3 million worth of preservation work.
Terry Brown, superintendent of Fort Monroe National Monument, discussed attracting younger generations to the National Park Service, which saw…