Airmen assigned to the 97th Air Mobility Wing delivered the largest single-day humanitarian aid delivery since 1998 to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Dec. 28, 2012.
Members from the 58th Airlift Squadron, 97th Security Forces Squadron, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron and 97th Maintenance Directorate all contributed to the 137,000 pound delivery, which arrived on a C-17 Globemaster III and was made possible by the Denton Program.
“We offloaded more than 130,000 pounds of food that will be delivered to orphanages in Haiti,” said Maj. Jody Turk, 730th Air Mobility Training Squadron assistant director of operations. “There was a lot of planning that went on for this mission and we made it happen. They are probably going to feed about 10,000 children and provide 30,000 meals with this delivery.”
The cargo consisted of rice and beans and was organized by Operation Ukraine, which is a nonprofit organization that delivers humanitarian aid to another organization in Haiti that provides food, clothing, medical supplies, and educational assistance facilities for under-privileged children and their families living in under-developed areas.
“Our U.S. Air Force is number one,” said Kathy Cadden, Operation Ukraine founder and president. “Without the U.S. Air Force there would have been thousands of kids that would have died. We feed anywhere from 8,500 to 10,000 children a month and that would not be possible without the Denton Program.”
Operation Ukraine uses the Denton Program to send aid to Mission Lifeline in Haiti to avoid goods being stolen when delivered personally.
“The Denton Program is wonderful,” Cadden said. “The aid arrives and the U.S. Embassy sends someone out to the airbase, we unload the plane, we load it in the trucks and are on our way; nothing gets stolen. It is the most efficient way to get supplies into Haiti.”
The deliveries made by the U.S. Air Force through the Denton Program are making a measurable difference in the area where the supplies are being delivered.
“We are touching lives and making a difference,” Cadden said. “The death rate of the children has gone down 75 percent in the area where this food is going, which is tremendous because about one-fourth to one-half of children die before they reach the age of five.”
“The educational rate has gone up about 80 percent in the area where the food is being delivered,” Cadden continued. “The Denton program has saved lives and is improving the quality of education in Haiti.”
The delivery of 137,000 pounds of food is worth about $85,000. It will only last a month because Mission Lifeline feeds more than 8,000 children per day.
“It feels great,” said Tech. Sgt. Nathan Griesinger, 58th Airlift Squadron loadmaster instructor. “I was able to volunteer and had some time away from the office to come out here and help these folks. It’s a great feeling to know that so many people are going to be helped from a small effort on my part.”