SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO- Maj. Joseph F. Okpe, Fort Buchanan's Chaplain, Staff Sgt. Juan Merced, Julyannie Santiago, Rosa Rodriguez, the installations Resource Management Officer, and Maria Ortiz, Victim Advocate at the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program, delivered toys to Casa de Niños Manuel Fernandez Juncos, a home for local vulnerable children, Dec 20.
"We have been collecting toys at Fort Buchanan for several weeks. What you see here is the result of the immense generosity of the service members, civilians, and families at Fort Buchanan. The Army and Air Force Exchange System helped me a lot as well in this effort," said Okpe.
Migdalia Noboa, the organization's administrative assistant, received the gifts on behalf of the kids.
"When you bring these toys, it shows that Fort Buchanan cares about our community. The time you took out of your daily missions to collect these toys and bring them here is precious to us. That is the essence of this season. Puerto Rico needs this type of gesture. I hope you can continue doing it. Our kids will be very grateful when they receive these beautiful gifts," said Noboa.
For Maria Ortiz, accompanying the Fort Buchanan team to distribute the toys was a unique experience.
"It is very satisfying to be able to bring happiness to these children and try to make a positive impact on their lives. To me, this is a privilege," said Ortiz.
Fort Buchanan also distributed toys to other nonprofit organizations in San Juan, including the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish.
The toy distribution efforts demonstrate Fort Buchanan's emphasis on strengthening the relationships between the installation and the communities around Puerto Rico and how the only U.S. Army installation in the region lives the Army values.
Fort Buchanan is the Army's home in the Caribbean and is critical in enhancing our warfighters, their families' readiness, and quality of life. The installation serves a diverse military community of approximately 15,000 active duty, Reserve and National Guard military, Marine Corps Reserve, and Navy Operational Support Center.