is just the way it is," said Domian, a 1973 graduate
of the University of New Hampshire. "It's the
environment we work in."
Domian, in a telephone interview after his video
conference, said he told the president his team is
making progress in improving outdated irrigation
systems and creating a program that allows women to
cultivate poultry without men feeling socially
intimidated. He said he and the 10 others, some of
whom are military personnel, are all working to
improve the life of the Afghan people.
Bush, Domian said, "felt strongly that the civilian
presence working with the military is a model that
has to be maintained in Afghanistan."
Domian, who works for the U.S. Agriculture
Department's Natural Resources Conservation Service,
first offered his services to the reconstruction of
Afghanistan in 2004 and worked for six months in the
southern Kandahar Province. In March of last year
Domian went to work in Farah, a western province on
Iran's border. His tour was extended by four months
and is scheduled to end at the end of April.
Domian was born and raised in Manchester. After
attending Bishop Bradley High School, now Trinity
High School, he earned a degree in soil and water
sciences from UNH in 1973. He has 37 years of
experience in the field and has helped in aiding
areas ravaged by hurricanes, including in the
Dominican Republic and in New Orleans.
Because he is working with civilians, he travels
with bolstered security convoys. He says he's not
scared of dying, but insists he isn't brave.
"I think it's more of . . . I put it aside," he
said. "We went out fully armored. We wore helmets.
We wore vests. We're in armored vehicles. You put it
aside because it's a war zone. We understood that. I
think it's a matter of fate. What's going to happen
is going to happen." Domian said that in speaking to
Bush -- who he said is an "excellent listener" --
those sitting at the table addressed the theme that
is the mission of reconstruction teams.
"We're all going in the same direction," he said.
"We're all going toward security. We're all working
toward governance, and we're all working toward
development . . . You have your civilian and
military partners working together."
The president praised the work civilians have
accomplished along with the military in Afghanistan.
"If you look on the screen you see brave and
courageous Americans in uniform and not in uniform,
because they're a part of this strategy to help
Afghans," Bush told them, according to a White House
The satellite meeting with the president was enough
to solidify Domian's beliefs that he is working for
a good and practical cause.
"It's a reaffirmation as to why I'm here," he said.
"I truly believe the president and the people of the
United States do support this. . . . I'm very proud
to be here, and I'd do it again. And I just might."