JB Charleston delivers aid to Belize during holidays
By Lt. Col. Wayne Capps, 315th Airlift Wing
/ Published December 24, 2020
BELIZE CITY, Belize (AFNS) --
As Christmas approaches, the people of Belize received a much-needed gift in the form of nearly 7,200 lbs. of medical aid delivered via C-17 Globemaster III.
The donated humanitarian aid, consisting of mostly surgical equipment, was delivered by the 315th Airlift Wing from Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, and was estimated to help more than a half-million people in Belize.
“These supplies are really important and the hospital here really needs them,” said Maj. Matthew Adams, security cooperation officer stationed in Belize. “It is very difficult to get this type of specialized medical equipment down here and this shipment will really fill the gap and help the people who need it. It will make a big difference.”
The supplies were donated by Heineman Medical Outreach, Inc. out of Charlotte, North Carolina, and are being delivered to Karl Hauesner Memorial Hospital in Belize City, one of the largest hospitals in the country, according to Adams.
“It is always good to deliver humanitarian aid, but this year has been rough on a lot of people,” said Capt. Dennis Conner, 701st Airlift Squadron pilot. “Being able to deliver these medical supplies just before the holidays, will hopefully help a lot of people to have a better ending to 2020.”
Missions like these are made possible by the Denton Amendment, a State Department and U.S. Aid program that allows the delivery of donated humanitarian aid to fly on U.S. Air Force assets on a space-available basis.
According to the Denton application, 41% of the population of Belize lives below the poverty level and much of the existing medical equipment in the country is “broken, old, outdated and the hospitals do not have the budget to replace it.” Also, prior to the intervention of Heineman Medical Outreach, Inc., Belize had no cardiac services available to its residents. These donated supplies will help grow those services and capabilities available to people of Belize.
“The international humanitarian mission the U.S. supports is vital to partner building,” said Col. Adam Willis, 315th Airlift Wing commander and mission pilot. “The Denton mission is one of these partnerships that allow us to support and help with supplies, equipment and personnel. This particular mission delivered much needed medical equipment to Belize in a time of need.”