Reservists Deliver Critical Firefighting Gear to Central America

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Will Brugge
  • 315th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Members of the 315th Airlift Wing, Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, delivered first responder equipment and aid to the people of Guatemala Feb. 7, 2021.

The donated equipment was picked up at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois and was loaded onto two separate C-17s, operated by the 317th Airlift Squadron and the 701st Airlift Squadron, and flown to Guatemala City, Guatemala.

Neale Brown, President of AMEDICAusa, a non-profit foundation that specializes in disaster relief and preparedness, received donations from fire departments and first responders across the United States to give to first responders in Guatemala.

“The cargo that is being carried today includes two fire engines, an ambulance, and supplies that will help 50 fire departments throughout Guatemala,” said Brown. “When we aren’t receiving cargo, we spend time training with first responders here in Guatemala.”

Nearly 250 firefighters were on scene to receive the cargo, many driving as long as 12-hours to see the shipment of supplies arrive.  Brown estimated that the donated equipment will benefit nearly 400,000 Guatemalans.

“Having the opportunity to deliver aid to those in need and being able to train for future missions down range makes missions like these beyond a valuable experience” said Staff Sgt. Robert Verlie, loadmaster with the 701st AS. “While we train, we also get to see the impact that the donated equipment has in the receiving nations.”

The supplies will be a crucial boost to departments that receive them. According to Brown, there are approximately 250 fire departments in all of Guatemala, many of whom are under supplied and in need of more modem equipment.

“Missions like this are a win-win for everyone involved,” said Staff Sgt. David Narvarez, loadmaster, 317th AS. “We were able to train while also delivering crucial aid to the people of Guatemala.”

The aid was coordinated through the Denton Program, enacted in 1985, that provides non-governmental agencies, international organizations and private voluntary donors the opportunity use military aircraft when there is space available to transport humanitarian aid. A valuable tool for training, while helping out those in need around the globe at no extra cost to the taxpayer.

Here is an AMEDICAusa video of the delivery:

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