SOTO CANO, Honduras –
Seventeen volunteers from Joint Task Force-Bravo spent some of their free time over the weekend at the Sisters of Charity Orphanage in Comayagua, Honduras.
"When groups come together to be a part of something bigger than themselves, it gives them a sense of doing something great, and in the end raises spiritual resiliency. I know that whenever I see people in a situation like this, it helps me to be reminded of how good we have it as healthy Americans, and I hope the participants feel the same way," said U.S. Air Force Capt. Samuel McClellan, Joint Task Force-Bravo command chaplain.
Throughout the three-hour visit, the volunteers spent time with several children and elderly orphans. Some of the activities included a pizza dinner, prayer time, games and balloon animals.
"Helping others is something I've always enjoyed and I always take my balloons to where there might be little children," said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Carlos Hampton, non-commissioned officer in charge of Air Traffic Control Training and Standardization for the 612th Air Base Squadron. "After all the work you realize that you gain a whole lot more than what you give. Being able to talk to the kids, asking them their names or coloring a page with them makes them feel special."
Volunteers throughout JTF-Bravo often spend time interacting with the children from various orphanages throughout the Comayagua valley.
"The most rewarding part of the visit was seeing the joy on those kids faces as they ate and played with us. Their words of appreciation were heartwarming. It is a trip worth repeating," said U.S. Army Master Sgt. Humphrey Okele, non-commissioned officer in charge of public health services for the JTF-Bravo Medical Element.
"The best part of the experience, without a doubt, is to see a smile on their faces. You know you are starting to be special person for them beyond those balloons or the candy, when after playing with you for a little bit, they ask you for your name," added Hampton.
The Sisters of Charity Orphanage is a shared endeavor between various religious groups on Soto Cano Air Base and is primarily sponsored by Friendship Chapel.
U.S. military personnel assigned to JTF-Bravo have supported more than 2,000 children at seven different orphanages and local villages from around the Comayagua valley since 1997. In addition to spending time with interacting with children, members have also collected and donated much-needed supplies and food, as well as helped in minor construction work on the buildings in which the children live.
Joint Task Force-Bravo was established in August 1984 to exercise command and control of U.S. Forces and exercises within the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility. Even today, JTF-Bravo not only exercises this command and control, but has also helps bring support to those in need within the country of Honduras.