SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras —
Airmen from the 315th Airlift Wing deployed a C-17 Globemaster III Feb. 1, 2020 to deliver donated humanitarian aid to Honduras, in support of the Denton Program.
The Denton Program is a Department of Defense transportation program that moves humanitarian cargo, donated by U.S. based non-governmental organizations to developing nations to ease human suffering. The program helps move donations from one spot to another to ensure proper delivery while simultaneously providing training hours for aircrews.
On this flight, the 701st Airlift Squadron delivered more than 11,000 pounds of mobility healthcare items such as wheelchairs, wheeled walkers, pick-up walkers and crutches. The charity, Helping Hands for Honduras, picked up the items from the jet just after landing at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras for delivery to a local public hospital in Danli, Honduras.
The Denton Program office said once the hospital receives the donated items, they will be able to start using them immediately. The majority of the patients that need these mobility items aren’t able to buy this type of equipment and the hospital doesn’t have the resources to get them.
“The Denton Program is a great mission that helps our charity distribute donations of much needed medical items from all over to patients and organizations who can’t afford them,” said Ronald Roll, co-founder and executive director of Helping Hands for Honduras, the receiving charity organization, “We’ve received a lot of shipments through the Denton Program, helping many people in Honduras and are so very appreciative to all associated with the program including the Air Force.”
The donating agencies, Interfaith Services to Latin America and Mano a Mano International, are both based out of Minnesota. All the donations were brought in from Minnesota and then transported to Honduras.
“Most of the donations come from Goodwill-Easter Seals,” said David O’Brien, “Our two groups out of Minnesota have volunteers that go to the Goodwill warehouses to sort and select the surplus equipment and then volunteers pack up the shipment for Honduras.”
“The donated equipment will go to the East Regional Hospital Gabriela Alvarado in Danli,” O’Brien added, “Many of the hospital's clients need wheelchairs, walkers and crutches for their recovery from various injuries and illnesses.”
According to the Denton Program office, approximately 700 men, 700 women and 100 children in Honduras will benefit just from this load of cargo.
Also, on the flight were 16 Airmen from the 315th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron who were on board to conduct an aeromedical readiness mission.
“In addition to running medical scenarios, we also need to be familiar with our aircraft,” said Senior Master Sgt. Michelle Geers, 315th AES, mission clinical coordinator on this flight, “Running these scenarios helps us stay current and qualified as aircrew and ready to deploy CONUS (continental United States), OCONUS (outside continental United States) or for any global humanitarian aid.”
Pilots, loadmasters, flying crew chiefs, and Aeromedical Evacuation personnel must all fly regularly to stay current on their training. These missions help these Joint Base Charleston Reserve Airmen get their required training while delivering items to those in need.
“Anytime we can combine missions where multiple squadrons and countries benefit is a huge win,” Geers added.
For more information on the Denton Humanitarian Assistance Program visit https://www.ustranscom.mil/mov/denton.cfm