This report originally published at southcom.mil.
Comayagua, Honduras, Feb. 21, 2018 —
After walking twelve kilometers uphill, carrying a backpack containing 25 pounds of food, a total of 200 members of Joint Task Force-Bravo arrived in the community of Las Minitas, Ajuterique in the department of Comayagua, to carry out the 75th Chapel Hike, Saturday, February 3, 2018.
This activity consists of collecting food through donations from each service member for the purchase of food that will be provided to the communities, which have been previously selected through a study to ensure that the distance is not so extensive; considering they will be walking towards the sites.
“This activity is carried out to achieve an approach with the population of the communities. This time we had three villages together and that fills us with pride because we had a good time. Not so much because we bring them food but because we can spend time with them” said Col. Keith McKinley, JTF-Bravo commander.
Approximately 12 visits to different villages in the departments of Comayagua and La Paz take place every year. “Everything began many years ago when, together with the chaplain of that time, we went on a walk to a village near the base to visit some people who were sick. We brought them medicines and we saw that we could do more and for more people. That’s how the idea of these Chapel Hikes was born” said Herberth Gaekel, organizer of this event.
In addition to food, soccer balls are also donated to encourage sportsmanship among the local school children. “We have a foundation that sponsors this called Kick for Nick, in honor of soldier Nicholas A. Madaras who fell in combat where. So we bring the balls and we play with the children for a while. These soccer balls are donated by people from all over the world “said Chaplain Joseph Watson, JTF-Bravo command chaplain.
U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) reports are created independently of American Military News (AMN) and are distributed by AMN in accordance with applicable guidelines and copyright guidance. Use of SOUTHCOM and U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) reports do not imply endorsement of AMN. AMN is a privately owned media company and has no affiliation with SOUTHCOM and the DOD.