JTF-B Medical Element shows love to Honduran orphans
By Staff Sgt. Chyenne A. Griffin, Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs
/ Published April 18, 2007
Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras -- Soto Cano Air Base's Medical Element (MEDEL) included about 87 children between the ages of 7-14 years old from the Hogar de Niños Jesús de Nazareth orphanage in the MEDEL Organizational Day held April 13.
The entire Medical Element supported the event, bussing the children on to the base and keeping them busy with pool time, basketball, soccer, tug-of-war and water balloon fights. They fed the children lunch and took them to a movie at the base theater.
"I am not sure who had more fun - the kids or the adults," said 1st Lt. Brook Davenport, MEDEL operating room assistant officer-in-charge. "Everyone had a blast with the water balloons and the tug-of-war. I think that we are influencing these children when we show up week after week, teaching them that people do care and that they mean something. We give them the hugs and affection that they aren't able to receive from their own families and show them how important that they are."
MEDEL supports the Hogar de Niños Jesús de Nazareth orphanage, which houses approximately 170 boys and girls. MEDEL voluntarily visits the orphanage every Wednesday. The orphans range in age from two months to 24 years old.
MEDEL has been supporting this orphanage for more than 10 years, and conducts fundraisers in order to provide the children with school supplies and uniforms, groceries, clothing and shoes, personal hygiene items, toys, appliances and money. They also provide free medical care to the children, as this orphanage has many special needs children, such as those with Down syndrome, and others who are blind, deaf or mute. In 2007, MEDEL members began working on a project to equip the orphanage with its own water supply system.
"My favorite memory of all the work we've done with these children will most definitely be this past Friday on our Organization Day," said Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Escobar, MEDEL operating room noncommissioned-officer-in-charge. "The smiles and enthusiasm in all of them made my time with them worth while. It felt really good to see them have so much fun and to hear them say they were having a blast!"
Joint Task Force-Bravo personnel at Soto Cano Air Base have supported more than 500 children at five different orphanages in the Comayagua Valley since 1997. Volunteers spend time interacting with the children, donating supplies, and doing construction work on the buildings in which the children live. The base's Medical Element is just one organization that helps bring great support and love to orphans in the Comayagua Valley.