Troops Bring Thanksgiving to Honduran Villagers
November 21, 2007
LA SAMPEDRANA, Honduras (Army News Service, Nov. 21, 2007) - About 70 Soldiers and other servicemembers from Joint Task Force Bravo climbed 5.5 miles up Comayagua Mountain to bring a Thanksgiving feast of more than 600 pounds of food to villagers in La Sampedrana Nov. 17.
The hike was the third in a series of five planned by Air Force Chaplain Capt. Chad Bellamy and the longest one to date.
Spc. Vincent Medrek carried more than 20 pounds of rice and milk to La Sampedrana on what was his second hike in the series. "The hikes are a good way to hang out and have fun," said Spc. Medrek. "It's good to meet with the Honduran people."
Spc. Medrek said he plans on participating in the remaining two hikes to Capiro and El Volcan in the upcoming months, making Thanksgiving a more year-round event.
The chapel-planned hikes have increased in popularity with U.S. servicemembers, with each hike drawing more participants than the previous one. The hike to La Sampedrana was the first in which JTF-Bravo servicemembers not only delivered but also purchased the food.
"The food for the previous hikes came from Troop Issue Subsistence Activity, so there was no cost to us," said Chaplain Bellamy. "But that ran out, so we collected an offering at the chapel and raised $1,100. The food for this hike was bought with that money."
For first-time participant Air Force Capt. Shauntell Guillory-Hawkins, the 11-mile round trip hike was more arduous than she had expected, but despite the physical demand, she was happy she participated.
"The hike was well worth it," said Capt. Guillory-Hawkins, deployed to JTF-Bravo from Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. "When we got here there were so many people in need I wish we could have brought more food."
Air Force Capt. Carlos Jayme was another first-time participant who plans on trying to join the remaining hikes.
"It was a good experience," said Capt. Jayme, who is deployed to JTF-Bravo from Kirtland Air Force Base, N. M. "It was humbling. It makes you realize how much you take for granted."
Chaplain Bellamy noted the timing of the hike so close to the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving was a good way for many deployed members to celebrate in an unusual fashion.
"The hike reminds us of how much we've been given and how much many others don't have. The greatest joy comes from being able to share what you have with others," said Chaplain Bellamy. "And this Thanksgiving we want our Honduran friends to know we're thankful for their friendship."