NEWS | Sept. 12, 2008

JTF-Bravo participates in Honduras Children’s Day

By Staff Sgt. Joel Mease Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs

Servicemembers from Joint Task Force-Bravo helped celebrate Children's Day Sept. 10 with more than 400 children in two nearby towns of Guajiquiro and Siguatepeque.

The annual celebration is held to recognize the importance of children in Honduras. To support the holiday JTF-Bravo sent a Blackhawk helicopter and a team of Spanish-speaking servicemembers to spend time with the children.

The decision to participate in the holiday was an easy one for JTF-Bravo, said Army Maj. Nilda Toro, Civil Affairs director.

"Some of these communities don't get much sponsorship from organizations," Major Toro said. "We want to show we care about our neighbors and their children. Many of these children have never had this opportunity, so it will be something they remember for a long time."

One of the biggest highlights of the visit was the Blackhawk landing in the towns for the children to watch. Many of the children had never seen a helicopter before, Maj. Toro said.

"Our kids did not believe us when we told them a helicopter was coming to visit," said Sandra Alcerro, a grade-school teacher in Siguatepeque. "Many of them didn't even believe they existed until they saw it. They were so anxious, but they didn't want to believe it until they saw it."

Besides it being a big deal for the children, as Ms. Alcerro explains, it was a big deal for the adults as well.

"It just shows how much (JTF-Bravo) cares about children," Ms. Alcerro said. "This is the first time someone has visited in such a long time just for the children. Many of the mothers here are single moms, so to give back to the children means so much to all of us."

Major Toro said she believes it is important for JTF-Bravo to participate as much as it can with its neighbors.

"It's a chance for us to show what programs we can provide," Major Toro said. "It's also an opportunity to give a moment these children will always remember."