NEWS | July 28, 2008

JTF-Bravo troops hike in food to local village

By Staff Sgt. Joel Mease Joint Task Force-Bravo public affairs

More than 100 volunteers from Joint Task Force-Bravo volunteered to participate in the monthly chapel hike to deliver more than 1,500 pounds of food to families in the village of Mira Valle, Honduras, July 26.

The volunteers delivered $900 worth of groceries from offerings and tithing's at the chapel in 160 bags to more than 40 families. The event was one of the largest chapel hike in the history of JTF-Bravo, said Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Norman Oehring, JTF-Bravo chaplain's assistant.

"This event was very successful," said Petty Officer Oehring. "I never anticipated having this many volunteers. The support for this program is just great, and we could not accomplish it without the support of the service members from Soto Cano."

One of the many reasons the 100 plus military members and civilians chose to participate in the chapel hike is service to others.

"I just believe it's the right thing to do," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Lester King. "If you are a human, then helping out those in need is just the moral thing to do."

For Comayagua local and civilian employee on Soto Cano, Mabel Vallecillo, it was important for her to help out her neighbors in need.

"I rarely have the time to get out and help my people, so it's important for me to take these opportunities," Ms. Vallecillo said. "I also have never had the chance to visit here before, so it's great to meet my neighbors as well."

Army Captain Gerritt Schellin said he found the opportunity as a reality check for him and the opportunity to get some exercise while viewing the countryside.

"The chapel hikes are a fun and unique experience you often don't find available in the states," Capt. Schellin said.

While the chapel hikes are a great opportunity to help others out, the chaplain's assistant who helps piece the activity together each month finds it even more rewarding.

"This is hands down the highlight of my time here," Petty Officer Oehring said. "The support from the chaplain and the base has just been great and it makes all the effort more than worth it."

The next chapel hike is scheduled for August 23.