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Supporting those who support those in need

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kris Levasseur
  • 43rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Ever since word got out about the 7.0 magnitude earth quake that devastated the island nation of Haiti, Pope has been in a state of organized chaos. Both Air Force active duty and Reserve personnel have been working hand-and-hand with Army personnel from Fort Bragg to ship Airmen, Soldiers and cargo, including equipment, supplies, food and water to the people of Haiti.

Because of the amount of effort being put into the relief mission, people have been working around the clock with very little time to rest. That's where volunteers from the Red Cross and USO come in.

Volunteers from these organizations have been working alongside every organization here at Pope and Fort Bragg to ensure that those involved with the humanitarian relief effort, namely those preparing to go to Haiti are getting food and water they need.

According to Brenda Dunn, Red Cross volunteer, volunteers have been working 24 hours a day feeding the servicemembers and giving them drinks in order to keep their morale up.

"It is important for the people going to Haiti to stay hydrated," said Mrs. Dunn. "They have a long flight ahead of them and many of them have been out here (at PAX terminal 1) for a while."

Most of the food and drink handed out by the volunteers have been donated by local businesses, she added.

"The only way our work is done is through donations and volunteers," said Mrs. Dunn. "The food has been donated, we didn't have to put a plea out, we just called the organizations and they donated."

Supporting the servicemembers preparing to leave for Haiti is not the only way these volunteer organizations have been supporting operations here though.

"We're supporting three Emergency Operations Centers; two on Fort Bragg and one on Pope," said Mrs. Dunn. "We're providing them coffee and food. Most of them have been working 12-hour shifts and some have been working 15 to 16 hours at a time--they're very impressive."

Mrs. Dunn also expressed her amazement of the joint operations taking place at Pope.

"It's an interesting collaboration between the Air Force and Army," she noted. "I stand in awe of the communication between the Army, Pope and other Air Force Bases. To observe two military branches work together so well is an incredible thing to see.