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News | Oct. 30, 2013

Joint Task Force-Bravo's Medical Element hosts "Fiesta Day" for local orphanage

By U.S. Army Sgt. Jennifer Shick Joint Task Force-Bravo Medical Element

Joint Task Force-Bravo's Medical Element (MEDEL) held a Fiesta Day for 61 boys and 12 adult chaperones from the Hogar de  Ninos Nazareth orphanage, Oct. 26.

With the help of 71 JTF-Bravo volunteers, the boys participated in carnival activities and games, including tug-o-war and parachute games. They also watched a movie in the base theatre, spent time cooling off at the pool and smashed several piñatas. The Soto Cano Air Base Fire Department also brought out a fire truck to support the event and allowed the boys to play with the fire hose and take pictures with the truck.

"This day was all about the boys, giving them a chance to have a meal they don't usually have and to just change their environment," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Laura Coppula, a pharmacist assigned to MEDEL. "The boys started asking about this event as soon as we brought their girls partner orphanage on post. We are just lucky that so many want to participate and help out in providing a unique and fun experience for these boys."

MEDEL has brought both of their orphanages on post within the last four months and has provided a fun day for the more than 150 orphans they sponsor. Between the two events, more than 90 volunteers from all Major Supporting Commands (MSCs) on JTF-Bravo have helped make these events possible.

"This deployment has offered many opportunities to give back, but the orphanages have been my favorite to work with," said U.S. Army Sgt. Courtney Kreft, MEDEL's veterinary animal care noncommissioned-officer-in-charge. "These kids have a lot less than most kids in the U.S., but still have an amazing outlook and just seem so happy. They are so appreciative and look forward to events like this almost as much as I do. The moment the buses arrive you can feel the energy change because the volunteers look forward to events like this as well and end up having as much fun as the kids."

JTF-Bravo service members regularly participate in numerous community engagements within Honduras; providing support to orphanages and local villages. JTF-Bravo personnel have supported more than 1,000 children at seven different orphanages in Honduras since the early 1990's, spending time interacting with the children, donating much-needed supplies, and doing construction work on the buildings in which the children live.