Haiti - Humanitarian : The US Air Force helps Haiti
According to the Denton Program office, it is estimated that more than 8,400 people from the rural areas in Haiti, including an orphanage and medical clinics, will benefit from the supplies.
"It’s hard to see little kids and families suffering," said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Reggie Godbolt, the loadmaster superintendent for the 300th Airlift Squadron and one of the loadmasters on the mission to Haiti. "But as a nation, we give people a hand when they need it. That’s what we are all about."
The missions can be challenging as well, he said. "We land in austere locations, have to manage different kinds of cargo and must deal with the language barrier," he explained. "But that’s what we train to do. We move equipment and supplies wherever it’s needed."
The relief missions are part of ongoing efforts by the 315th Airlift Wing to use flight training hours to provide humanitarian relief to countries in need, while also providing mandated training for C-17 aircrew members.
Since October, the 315th Airlift Wing has delivered 72.1 tons of humanitarian aid to Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic.
"Missions like these are the best part of what we do," said Air Force Maj. Jennifer Phillips, one of the pilots on the mission from the 300th Airlift Squadron. "We don’t think twice about helping people. It’s just what we do. On these missions we delivered a huge well-drilling truck, food and medical supplies; and enough equipment to build a library. That’s not something you get to do every day."
Missions like these are made possible by the Denton Amendment, a State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development program allowing the delivery of donated humanitarian aid to fly on Air Force assets on a space-available basis.
Kathy Cadden from Operation Ukraine, one of the organizations that donated some of the aid going to Haiti, said many of the donated items would have been thrown away.
Buckets and jugs were saved from going to a landfill and can be used for carrying water, she said, and the donated preschool tables were older tables being replaced by Woodland Hill Church of Christ in Memphis, Tennessee. Now these supplies are headed to the Children’s Lifeline School in Barbancou, Haiti. She also said the many desks, chairs and supplies will go to schools, hospitals, medical clinics and orphanages in the area.
"I am so thankful to the Denton program and the U.S. Air Force for making it possible to get food and humanitarian into Haiti," Cadden said. “There is a change being made in the area where these supplies are being sent."