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News | Dec. 17, 2007

Volunteers from JTF-Bravo deliver food to Honduran mountain village

By Staff Sgt. Austin M. May Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs

United States servicemembers from Joint Task Force-Bravo took to the mountains around Soto Cano Air Base Dec. 14 to deliver food and supplies to Hondurans living off the beaten path.

Approximately 60 volunteers joined the three-mile trek, sponsored by the JTF-Bravo Chapel, carrying more than 600 pounds of food on their backs to a village with about 500 residents. The food was purchased with money donated through tithes at the JTF-Bravo Chapel.

Air Force Chaplain (Capt.) Chad Bellamy, the JTF-Bravo chaplain, said the hike was unique because it was the first time servicemembers were released from duty to attend, a decision made by the JTF-Bravo commander, Army Col. Marcus De Oliveira, who joined the group.

The chaplain said the hikes are a great experience for those looking to get out from "behind the wall" and get involved in the local community, adding they help people acknowledge that we are all part of humanity.

"Differing socio-economic levels should not be a point of division as to whether or not we care for one another," Chaplain Bellamy said.

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Frank Johnson said he was motivated to join the hike not only by the idea of helping others, but by his family back home.

"I've got a family of my own," he said. "If we were ever in need, I'd like it if someone did the same thing for us."

Army Sgt. Brent Stewart loaded every available pocket of his military-issue rucksack with food and milk, saying "somebody had to carry it." Dripping with sweat and red in the face from carrying the huge load, he smiled and said it was absolutely worth it.

The hike was a way for some members of JTF-Bravo to share the holiday spirit with the residents of Honduras.

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Diane Strohm, who has attended previous hikes with the chapel, said this trip was special because of the time of year.

"It's an awesome experience to be able to give something to those less fortunate during the holiday season," she explained.

The trip to Capiro was the fourth hike in a series of five to local villages around Soto Cano Air Base. The final hike is scheduled for Jan. 5.