NEWS | April 11, 2014

Lending a helping hand; Joint Task Force-Bravo supports local housing project

By Capt. Steven Stubbs Joint Task Force-Bravo

Twenty-one Joint Task Force-Bravo service members filled trenches, leveled ground and shoveled dirt at the Ajuterique Housing Project helping several Honduran families get closer to moving into their new homes April 5, 2014.

In conjunction with the Honduras Habit for Humanity, Siguatepeque region, the Municipality of Ajuterique and the Civil-Military Operations office at JTF-Bravo, these service members volunteered their labor to assist in the building of homes in this community.

"We help clear the land, mix cement, help pour the foundation and lay brick," said U. S. Army Capt. Scott Menne. "All the JTF-Bravo volunteers enjoy helping our Honduran neighbors build something lasting together."

The two-phased project includes building 38 two-bedroom, one-bath homes for low-income Hondurans who can afford to construct a home but doesn't own the land to build on. The Ajuterique Municipal Cabinet donated the land to these families so they too can realize the dream of owning their own home. Once the houses are complete, the families make monthly payments just like any other homeowner.

"JTF-Bravo has been a blessing and truly a gift because they like to volunteer and help those in need," stated Ramiro Martinez, Habitat for Humanity social promoter. "We have been able to finish these projects with the aid that they have provided us with. I hope they always volunteer wherever they go whether it's here or in another country."

Even though the work is hard and laborious, these volunteers were still smiling when they completed their tasks for the day.

"Although the weather was hot and the work was hard, I enjoyed working towards helping these families realize their goals of having a home to call their own; a place that they can feel safe and raise their families," said U. S. Air Force Technical Sgt. Breihan Fetz. "Overall, it's a good feeling to help those individuals out that are in need."

Through the years, JTF-Bravo leadership has created, developed, maintained and continues to enhance community relations through Key Leader Engagements with local Honduran leaders which are facilitated by the Civil-Military Operations office.

"As a result of these meetings with local authorities, Joint Task Force-Bravo has been requested to be a part of the community programs and projects and we have done so through volunteer work," said Iris Medina, Joint Task Force-Bravo liaison officer.

Menne believes that the opportunity to work with the Ajuterique Housing Project is by far the most rewarding volunteer event that he has been given the opportunity to work with.

"The day when the Hondurans actually take possession of their homes is the best. I equate this in America to when we buy our first home. Someone actually hands you the keys and it's yours! There is no greater feeling than that in the world and knowing we had a hand in it makes us proud."

Since 2011, Joint Task Force-Bravo volunteers and the Habitat for Humanity have teamed together to construct 85 homes.