SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras –
At 7:30 a.m. on June 29, more than 100 volunteers from Joint Task Force-Bravo gathered together in front of the base chapel for the bi-monthly Chapel Hike to pick-up groceries and supplies, which would be delivered to an impoverished village.
The 109 Chapel Hikers would then get inside two buses and travel about 15 miles to La Villa De Amatillo community and hike about a mile and a half up a mountain.
"We had two options for the hikers to climb up the mountain one was physically demanding, while the other was steep, but a nice scenic route," said U.S. Air Force Capt. Asa Chung, the JTF-Bravo command chaplain. "Not only did these hikers have to go up the mountain each of their back-packs were full of groceries, supplies, hygiene products, candy and toys, which varied in weigh from 40 to 80 pounds ."
The more demanding hike was limited to only 20 participants due to the size of the group and the difficulty of the climb.
"I'm a health nut," said U.S. Army Col. John Sena, Army Support Activity commander and amateur bodybuilder. "The mountain was steep and depending on your shoes it was extremely difficult. We were walking on pine needles so you couldn't always get a good footing, but it was a great experience."
"The best part was being able to speak to the people on top of the mountain and play with the kids," he added. "It's definitely something I would like to do again."
For the event to occur Captain Chung and his assistant U.S. Army Sgt. Leobardo Villarreal coordinated with more than a half dozen organizations, which include JTF-Bravo's Medical Element, Joint Security Forces and outside organizations such as community leaders and the World Health Organization.
"For this one humanitarian mission, it took us three weeks of preparation," said Villarreal, JTF-Bravo's chaplains assistant. "But it was completely worth it because we rendered much needed groceries, hygiene supplies and toys to 85 families who have no means of transportation."
"The participants of the hike would carry 120 bags of groceries, two piñatas and seven soccer balls to the Amatillio Elementary School," said Villarreal.
The next Chapel Hike will be held August 24 and will be a crowning achievement because it will be the 50 hike conducted here.