Joint Security Forces recognized at Casayuda Foundation ceremony
By Capt. Alysia Harvey, Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs
/ Published March 09, 2007
COMAYAGUA, Honduras -- Joint Task Force-Bravo's Joint Security Forces were recognized at the Casayuda Foundation's 8th anniversary celebration March 9.
Four personnel from JSF attended the ceremony, and U.S. Army 1st Lt. Hector Ayala, the JSF deputy commander and member of the Puerto Rican National Guard, accepted the certificate of appreciation on behalf of the unit.
"It is our pleasure to support our friends at Casayuda and we are so proud of the great work the teachers are doing with the children there, as well as the great things the children are doing in spite of their handicaps," said Lieutenant Ayala. "Words cannot tell you how much it means to us that they took time out to recognize us today, and we are honored to have been invited to participate in this anniversary celebration."
The ceremony consisted of a speech by the foundation's director; a Catholic mass; songs performed by the school children and their teachers; a video about the foundation's history, which showcased the current students and those who have graduated; and then lunch, which the JSF personnel helped serve.
"Casayuda is necessary and beneficial, and we thank God for the support of the many people who assist us," said Nellie Zelaya, director of Casayuda Foundation, during her speech on the how the foundation began. "It is with pleasure that we present this certificate of appreciation to the Joint Security Forces from Joint Task Force-Bravo, and we thank them for all of their support with the infrastructure construction and for building the basketball court."
JSF provides support to the Casayuda Foundation, an orphanage and school for special needs children, including ones with Down Syndrome and some who are deaf, mute, and mentally challenged. The mission of the Casayuda Foundation, the only one of its kind in Honduras, is to prepare the disabled children to live a productive life and to become well-adjusted members of society.
JSF personnel have been voluntarily visiting this orphanage once a month sine 2001, providing support to approximately 121 girls and boys ranging in age from 5 to 24 year old. JSF personnel provide them with logistical, manpower and emotional support, as well as support for projects such as building the orphanage' s a basketball court, installing rain gutters and supplying ceiling fans.
The unit has also provided a stove, kitchen table, three washers and dryers, a refrigerator, 10 bikes, food, clothing, shoes, cleaning and school supplies to the children of Casayuda Foundation over the years.