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Airmen visit school in Ecuador, donate supplies

Chief Master Sgt. Lloyd Hollen greets a student before walking to the school's center to watch the presentation of Southern Command's Humanitarian Assistance Program donation of school supplies Dec. 10 in San Juan, Ecuador. Chief Hollen is the command chief for the Air Forces Southern and 12th Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matthew McGovern)

Chief Master Sgt. Lloyd Hollen greets a student before walking to the school's center to watch the presentation of Southern Command's Humanitarian Assistance Program donation of school supplies Dec. 10 in San Juan, Ecuador. Chief Hollen is the command chief for the Air Forces Southern and 12th Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matthew McGovern)

Lt. Gen. Glenn F. Spears meets students after he presented the Southern Command's Humanitarian Assistance Program donation of school supplies Dec. 10 at the San Juan Elementary School in Ecuador. General Spears is the Southern Command deputy commander. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matthew McGovern)

Lt. Gen. Glenn F. Spears meets students after he presented the Southern Command's Humanitarian Assistance Program donation of school supplies Dec. 10 at the San Juan Elementary School in Ecuador. General Spears is the Southern Command deputy commander. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matthew McGovern)

Lt. Gen. Glenn F. Spears quizzes students on geography Dec. 10 at San Juan Elementary School in Ecuador. The visit with the children was part of a weeklong holiday tour to engage with forward deployed personnel and assist nearby communities in seven Latin American countries during the holiday season. General Spears is the Southern Command deputy commander. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matthew McGovern)

Lt. Gen. Glenn F. Spears quizzes students on geography Dec. 10 at San Juan Elementary School in Ecuador. The visit with the children was part of a weeklong holiday tour to engage with forward deployed personnel and assist nearby communities in seven Latin American countries during the holiday season. General Spears is the Southern Command deputy commander. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matthew McGovern)

Lt. Gen. Glenn F. Spears gets acquainted with students from the San Juan Elementary School Dec. 10 in San Juan, Ecuador. The general presented a donation certificate for $6,000 in school supplies to the school's director in front of the nearly 330 children enrolled. General Spears is the Southern Command deputy commander. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matthew McGovern)

Lt. Gen. Glenn F. Spears gets acquainted with students from the San Juan Elementary School Dec. 10 in San Juan, Ecuador. The general presented a donation certificate for $6,000 in school supplies to the school's director in front of the nearly 330 children enrolled. General Spears is the Southern Command deputy commander. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matthew McGovern)

Lt. Gen. Glenn F. Spears (right) and Lt. Col. David Keesey present a gift of $6,000 in school supplies from the Southern Command's Humanitarian Assistance Program to children Dec. 10 at the San Juan Elementary School in Ecuador. The donation was part of a weeklong holiday tour to engage with forward deployed personnel and assist nearby communities in seven Latin American countries during the holiday season. General Spears is the Southern Command deputy commander and Colonel Keesey is his executive and translator on the trip. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matthew McGovern)

Lt. Gen. Glenn F. Spears (right) and Lt. Col. David Keesey present a gift of $6,000 in school supplies from the Southern Command's Humanitarian Assistance Program to children Dec. 10 at the San Juan Elementary School in Ecuador. The donation was part of a weeklong holiday tour to engage with forward deployed personnel and assist nearby communities in seven Latin American countries during the holiday season. General Spears is the Southern Command deputy commander and Colonel Keesey is his executive and translator on the trip. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matthew McGovern)

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.

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