Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, Sept. 25, 2020 —
Marines with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force - Southern Command and service members with Joint Task Force-Bravo donated boxes of single-use medical and reusable masks, wheelchairs, and kits for expecting mothers to Hospital Salvador Paredes in Trujillo, Honduras, Sept. 16, 2020.
This joint service collaboration with the non-governmental organization and local charity CEPUDO donated medical supplies to help the people of Trujillo in their fight against COVID-19. The small ceremony was attended by the Governor of the Department of Colon, Carlos Ramón Aguilar, and the mayor of Trujillo, Héctor Mendoza.
“This donation was a collaborative effort between SPMAGTF-SC 20, U.S. Southern Command and a non-governmental organization,” said U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Taylor Ngo, a civil affairs marine with SPMAGTF-SC 20. “SOUTHCOM had a conference call with our non-governmental organizational partners, and CEPUDO was the NGO that agreed to make this donation. We deeply appreciate their efforts.”
This donation not only will benefit patients but will augment relief for hospital staff during a time when hospitals in this region are trying to keep pace with the influx of patients due to COVID.
“Our biggest benefactors off the donation are the patients from Hospital Salvador Paredes,” said U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Lazart Sekulitsrodriguez, a psychological operations non-commissioned officer. “The wheelchairs are going to benefit those that are pregnant while here at the hospital and are going to help with transportation. The disposable masks are going to be utilized mainly by the patients who receive regular care. The reusable masks will be utilized by the hospital staff to keep themselves safe and they can keep fighting the fight against COVID-19.”
Although the donation was coordinated by SPAMGTF-SC and Joint Task Force-Bravo personnel, it would not have been possible without the support of the medical director of Hospital Salvador Paredes, Dr. Xiomara Arita.
“Since the moment we contacted Dr. Arita she saw our intent,” said Sekulitsrodriguez. “She has been our main contact for everything here in Trujillo. She has been extremely grateful and helped us contact the governor of Colon and the mayor of Trujillo and guided us through everything happening in Trujillo.”
SPMAGTF-SC strives to continuously maintain the relationship between Joint Task Force-Bravo and its host nation of Honduras, while giving back to the community at every opportunity. The joint team is operating in nearby Trujillo Bay for an overwater survival emergency deployment readiness exercise, which presented an ideal window to work with the local community to meet regional needs.
“On behalf of the United States, we thank Honduras and its people for their hospitality,” said Ngo. “We have a long history of working with Honduras and look forward in continuing our work together through this pandemic and into the future.”