Colorado reservists deliver aid to Caribbean island
By Staff Sgt. Stephen J. Collier, 302nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 30, 2009
BARBADOS -- Reservists from Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., lent a helping hand Oct. 30 by transporting much-needed educational and medical supplies to the Caribbean island of St. Vincent.
Through a U.S. humanitarian aid program supported by the Denton Amendment, the supplies were airlifted to the Caribbean island on a C-130 aircraft from Peterson's 302nd Airlift Wing. The supplies were expected to be used at several places, including a hospital, nursing home, four children's homes, eight non-profit institutions, 34 area schools and a prison.
The supplies included wheelchairs, syringes, examination tables, bicycles and school supplies. They were donated by the Good News Project, based in Wausau, Wis.
"Donations from private organizations make it possible to help out all kinds of people, from mental patients to the elderly and orphans," said Tom Fladland, operations director for the Good News Project. "Some of the donated items have a lot of useful life left in them."
St. Vincent is just one of several islands that has benefitted from these humanitarian airlift missions throughout the area. Places like St. Lucia, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and the Grenadines have all received aid from Air Force-supported missions through the Denton Amendment office, based at Charleston AFB, S.C. Most units supporting Denton missions fly to Charleston AFB, take on their humanitarian cargo and fly off, en route to their designated location.
"It felt good to bring these supplies in," said Staff Sgt. James Jorgensen, a C-130 loadmaster in the 302nd AW. "It's not the first time I've delivered aid, and it's good to know you bring school supplies and medical supplies to those who really need it."
Officials from the Good News Project based in St. Vincent were on hand for the delivery of the supplies. Ancil Knights, the coordinator for Good News on the island, said the kind of donations coming to St. Vincent meant "there was humanity somewhere."
This delivery means "people care," Mr. Knight said. "I do my job because I believe in goodness. Good News not only distributes these supplies, but they build houses, visit institutions like the mental asylum and go into schools and teach kindergarten. But to see where some people live and to see the outcome of what Good News actually does, it's a great feeling to be a human being."
The 302nd AW is one of several C-130 airlift units throughout the Air Force Reserve Command. Many of these units are tasked to support Denton missions by transporting U.S. Government-approved donations on a space-available basis to areas in need of critical aid. Mr. Fladland said he knew the work Good News is doing is "really important to the people on the receiving end."
Mr. Fladland has been participating in this mission for six years.
"It's something a big bonus or extra week of vacation can't give you," he said. "After 26 years, Good News has built more than 300 houses for serving people in the [Caribbean] islands, donated millions of tons of humanitarian supplies and helped our local community as well." (Air Force Reserve Command News Service)