COMAYAGUA, Honduras, –
Joint Task Force-Bravo's Medical Element (MEDEL) visited the Hogar de Niño's, Nazareth boys' orphanage April 5, 2014 for the first time since the new rotation of personnel has been assigned to Soto Cano Air Base.
"This trip to the boys' orphanage is for the new MEDEL to get to know the boys and start to cultivate bonds between them and our service members. It also provides us an opportunity to access the needs of the orphanage so that we can provide help in the best manner possible," said U. S. Army Maj. Daniel Gardner.
The orphanage's biggest needs are new mattresses, linens, shower curtains, and toiletry items such as shampoo, soap, and deodorant. The needs are met entirely from donations from the Medical Element service members and from other soldiers and airmen stationed at JTF-Bravo.
More than 27 members helped the boys pick out clothing in their correct sizes, hand out various snacks, and color pictures. The volunteers also discovered the boys of Hogar de Niño's play an intense game of soccer.
"I had a fun time. The boys were very interactive and enjoyed playing soccer with us. What is humbling, is for having so little, they take a lot of joy in what they do have; which is something I think we forget to do daily," said U. S. Army 1st Lt. Melanie Sanders.
Members of the Air Force Special Operations Command accompanied MEDEL in the wonderful bonding experience. The team of physicians and their flight crew came prepared with boxes of clothing, toys, and school supplies to supplement the donations of toiletries and clothing provided by the Medical Element.
JTF-Bravo service members regularly participate in numerous community engagements within Honduras; providing support to orphanages and local villages. JTF-Bravo personnel have supported more than 2,000 children at seven different orphanages in the Comayagua valley since 1997, spending time interacting with the children, donating much-needed supplies, and doing construction work on the buildings in which the children live.