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U.S. Army South Col. Robert Casias, left, a member of the Alice, Texas Noon Lions Club, speaks with Chaguanas, Trinidad Lions Club President Assim Mohammed, following an early April meeting regarding U.S. military humanitarian projects in the small Caribbean nation. (Photo by Master Sgt. Brenda Benner, Texas Army National Guard)

CHAGUANAS, Trinidad - U.S. Army Col. Robert Casias of Alice, Texas is traveling through the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago this spring and summer while building relationships between the U.S. military and the defense forces of the small twin-island nation.

Casias is currently in Trinidad as a key leader for Beyond the Horizon 2008 (BTH), a multinational and U.S. joint-services military exercise that includes humanitarian and civic assistance projects in Trinidad. Sponsored by U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) and planned and supervised by U.S. Army South, BTH missions are designed to foster goodwill and improve relations in support of SOUTHCOM's Partnership for the Americas program.

Casias, the commander of the Partnership for the Americas Engagement Team- Caribbean, has met with many local area government officials and community leaders the past few weeks.

One such meeting was with "fellow" Lions Club members in Chaguanas, located south of the capitol city Port of Spain and more than a thousand miles away from Casias' original Lion brothers. Casias is a member of the Alice Noon Lions Club.

"We are privileged to have such a distinguished guest, who is also a Lion, sharing information on the (U.S. Army) humanitarian projects being done here," said Chaguanas Lions Club membership director Tyroon Ramtahalsingh.

Casias said members of the Chaguanas Lions Club, just as those in the Alice Noon Lions Club, seek to serve their communities in a variety of ways.

"The Chaguanas Lions are helping one of our temporary health clinics by offering approximately three hundred donated prescription eyeglasses for those who can't afford them," said Casias.

After the colonel's presentation, the Chaguanas Lions voted to include him as an associate member among their ranks. They ceremoniously presented him with a member's vest to mark the special occasion.

"It was a beautiful evening, they were gracious hosts," Casias said. "Extending membership to me made me smile ... it made me feel good and I'm proud to join them. It was very special."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16