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Task Force Volunteers Deliver Food to Honduran Village

By Staff Sgt. Austin M. May, USAF
Special to American Forces Press Service

CAPIRO, Honduras, Dec. 18, 2007 – U.S. servicemembers from Joint Task Force Bravo took to the mountains around Soto Cano Air Base to deliver food and supplies to Hondurans living off the beaten path.

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Air Force Staff Sgt. Charles Alford hands milk to a crowd of children in the Honduran village of Capiro Dec. 14, 2007. The sergeant was one of about 60 servicemembers who attended a three-mile hike, sponsored by the JTF Bravo chapel, to the village to deliver 600 pounds of food. Photo by Staff Sgt. Austin M. May, USAF
  

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About 60 volunteers joined the three-mile trek Dec. 14, sponsored by the JTF Bravo Chapel, carrying more than 600 pounds of food on their backs to a village with about 500 residents. The food was purchased with money donated through tithes at the chapel.

Air Force Chaplain (Capt.) Chad Bellamy, the JTF Bravo chaplain, said the hike was unique because it was the first time servicemembers were released from duty to attend, a decision made by the JTF Bravo commander, Army Col. Marcus De Oliveira, who joined the group.

The chaplain said the hikes are a great experience for those looking to get out from “behind the wall” and get involved in the local community, adding they help people acknowledge that we all are part of humanity.

“Differing socioeconomic levels should not be a point of division as to whether or not we care for one another,” Bellamy said.

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Frank Johnson said he was motivated to join the hike not only by the idea of helping others, but also by his family back home.

“I’ve got a family of my own,” he said. “If we were ever in need, I’d like it if someone did the same thing for us.”

Army Sgt. Brent Stewart loaded every available pocket of his military-issue rucksack with food and milk, saying “somebody had to carry it.” Dripping with sweat and red in the face from carrying the huge load, he smiled and said it was absolutely worth it.

The hike was a way for some members of JTF Bravo to share the holiday spirit with the residents of Honduras.

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Diane Strohm, who has attended previous hikes with the chapel, said this trip was special because of the time of year.

“It’s an awesome experience to be able to give something to those less fortunate during the holiday season,” she explained.

The trip to Capiro was the fourth hike in a series of five to local villages around Soto Cano Air Base. The final hike is scheduled for Jan. 5.

(Air Force Staff Sgt. Austin M. May serves with Joint Task Force Bravo Public Affairs.)

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Joint Task Force Bravo

Click photo for screen-resolution imageServicemembers assigned to Joint Task Force Bravo cross a stream en route to the Honduran village of Capiro to deliver 600 pounds of food, Dec. 14, 2007. The three-mile hike, sponsored by the JTF Bravo chapel, was the fourth in a series of five scheduled trips. Photo by Staff Sgt. Austin M. May, USAF  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageArmy Col. Marcus De Oliveira, Joint Task Force-Bravo commander, loads food into his backpack to take to the village of Capiro Dec. 14, 2007. The colonel was one of about 60 people who attended the three-mile JTF Bravo chapel-sponsored hike, which was the fourth in a series of five scheduled trips. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Austin M. May, USAF  
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