45th Sust. Bde. offers gentle hands, hearts at orphanage

| April 14, 2011 | 0 Comments
Spc. Corey Hart, command driver, 10th ASG, 8th TSC, holds a 13-month-old orphan from Gentle Hands Orphanage in the Philippines, March 30.

Spc. Corey Hart, command driver, 10th ASG, 8th TSC, holds a 13-month-old orphan from Gentle Hands Orphanage in the Philippines, March 30.

Story and Photo by
Maj. Shea A. Asis
8th Military Police Brigade Public Affairs, 8th Theater Sustainment Command

 

MANILA, Philippines — “Invest in our children” are words that many people live by, but for some unfortunate children around the world, more than words are needed.

Soldiers from 45th Sustainment Brigade, 8th Theater Sust. Command, and 10th Area Support Group (Japan), both supporting Balikatan 2011, recently took part in a humanitarian mission to help children at a local orphanage, here, March 30.

For Chaplain (Capt.) Josh Llano, 45th Sust. Bde., helping the less fortunate is a passion, and he was not going to pass up an opportunity to interact with orphaned children.

“I love working (with) and helping children,” Llano said. “It’s a wonderful experience to do it here and to get other Soldiers involved. Seeing the Soldiers smile is what makes my day.”

The volunteer work took place at Gentle Hands Orphanage, which is run by Charity Graff. The orphanage provides medical care, helps teenagers who are on drugs, nurses infant children from birth and places children with healthy foster families.

As the Solders walked into the orphanage, they were overwhelmed by the number of children who wanted to show them what games they were playing, or how the children simply wanted someone to sit next to them.

“It totally got my attention, and it got at my heart — the kids and babies,” said Maj. Jason Migliore, movement control officer, Balikatan 2011. “I was really amazed with the work that (Graff) is doing with everything.”

As the Soldiers made their way to the third floor of the orphanage, they arrived in the nursery where nannies where taking care of newborns. Picking up the children, the Soldiers provided that loving touch to the children, who normally only get to interact with their caretakers.

“Seeing a newborn (in his bouncer), who was only three weeks old, with no mother or father, who would otherwise have no chance in life, is extremely sad,” said Spc. Corey Hart, command driver, 10th ASG. “But I’m glad to see him here in the orphanage, because I know he will be a successful person, thanks to (Graff’s) work.”

The 45th Sust. Bde. Soldiers were then taken to a local slum, where most of the children in the orphanage used to live. The overwhelming smell of rotting trash encompassed the shantytown, where the effects of diseases like tuberculosis, not normally seen in U.S., make their mark, here.

Nonetheless, smiles were all around as children came out to greet Soldiers.

After a quick tour of the village, Soldiers ended up at the local basketball court where a quick game took place that bonded children and Soldiers.

As the group left, everyone waved goodbye. Soldiers from Hawaii made an impact on the children that day and offered a glimmer of hope at the Gentle Hands Orphanage.

 

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Category: Deployed Forces, Exercises, News

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