Airmen visit school in Ecuador, donate supplies
By Tech. Sgt. Matthew McGovern, Defense Media Activity-San Antonio
/ Published December 17, 2008
FORWARD OPERATING LOCATION MANTA, Ecuador (AFNS) -- Southern Command and Air Forces Southern officials donated $6,000 of school supplies to an elementary school Dec. 9 in San Juan, Ecuador.
The donation was part of a weeklong holiday tour as senior Air Force officials met forward deployed servicemembers and assisted seven communities near American bases throughout Latin American countries during the holiday season.
Lt. Gen. Glenn F. Spears, the U.S. Southern Command deputy commander, presented a donation certificate to the San Juan Elementary School's director in front of nearly 330 students.
When the children became aware of the various projectors, whiteboards and other school supplies they will receive, they laughed and grinned in unison.
"To see the smile on the faces of these children is more than we could have asked for," General Spears said.
The children weren't the only ones who were thankful.
"We really appreciate this, this is a tremendous help for our students," said Pearl Jackson, the school's executive director.
"The kids don't have much and when they see us it makes them happy," said Senior Airman Shanita Ware, a chaplain assistant and volunteer at the school. "It makes me value what I have and not worry about what I want."
Also at the school, Chief Master Sgt. Lloyd Hollen, the command chief for Air Forces Southern and 12th Air Force, noticed how the children came up to shake hands with the troops.
"Based on the status of the facilities, we knew they were very poor, but that didn't stop the children from being very happy and excited to see us," he said.
Airman from nearby Forward Operating Location Manta, regularly come to donate and volunteer their time at the school.