Serving the Military Community
By Airman 1st Class Tracie Forte , Task Force New Horizons Public Affairs
/ Published July 29, 2008
AYACUCHO, Peru -- U.S. servicemembers deployed here in support of New Horizons Peru-2008, a humanitarian assistance program that will bring quality of life projects to the people of Peru, have something to look forward to after a hard day's work.
Over the three-month duration of the U.S. and Peruvian humanitarian mission, more than 990 U.S. servicemembers are scheduled to contribute 240,000 man-hours to the mission. Leadership has invested a great deal of time and resources to ensure servicemembers have something to look forward to during their down time.
"Our servicemembers are doing a stand-up job and we are proud of the work they've done and will continue to do throughout this mission," said Maj. Matt Joganich, Task Force New Horizons commander. "Their quality of life is a priority for me and my staff, and they deserve the best living environment and recreational activities we can offer."
Tasked with ensuring servicemembers can make the best of their free time, 10 military 820th Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers out of Nellis AFB, Nev., services personnel have gone to great lengths to provide the highest quality of entertainment for Airmen, Sailors, Marines and Soldiers.
"The recreation activities here will hopefully make everyone feel at home," said Tech. Sgt. Alfredo Perez, Jr., a heavy equipments operator and services non-commissioned officer in charge. "We'll set up different tournaments, have books that may be checked out, and will hold social gatherings in order to make everyone feel relaxed and keep morale up."
Sergeant Perez and his team spent two days establishing a recreation center on a Peruvian army base, where U.S. military members have set up their base camp. The center includes approximately $10,000's worth of equipment and consists of computers with Internet access, morale telephones, a television area, a shelf-load of movies and video games.
"The recreation area is above and beyond what we normally see," said Marine Sgt. Patrick Coen, a generator electrician. "It's something to look forward to after the work day.
Along with establishing a recreation center, the services team has sought opportunities for task force members to visit local Peruvian communities.
"It's wonderful that we have the opportunity to take trips into the cities to learn about the history of the local community," said Tech. Sgt. Joy Flumerfelt, an independent duty medical technician currently attached to Task Force New Horizons.
U.S. servicemembers have taken the opportunity to take trips into downtown Ayacucho, as well as surrounding areas to enjoy local food, observe the culture, and shop for artisan souvenirs.
"It is great to go out to the local community and see the sites," said Tech. Sgt. Betty Figueroa, a vehicle manager and analyzer. "At first, the area appears run down and in ruins, but if you get up close, you can see the thought and fine detail put into the architecture."
New Horizons Peru-2008, scheduled to run through Aug. 31, is an opportunity for U.S. servicemembers and their Peruvian counterparts to assist underprivileged Peruvian communities with expert medical care and construction projects while strengthening the bonds of friendship through teamwork and mutual respect.