Reserve aircrew deliver food to thousands in Nicaragua
By 2nd Lt. Steven Lewis, 512th Airlift Wing
/ Published December 24, 2014
MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AFNS) -- Reserve Airmen from the 512th Airlift Wing delivered 125,000 pounds of humanitarian supplies to Nicaragua aboard a C-5M Super Galaxy Dec. 20, just in time for the holidays.
The supplies included food and educational equipment and were airlifted to Nicaragua's Augusto C. Sandino International Airport in Managua. The massive delivery was made possible through the Denton Program, a Defense Department humanitarian assistance transportation program that utilizes space available military air, surface and sea-lift assets. The supplies were provided to World Missions Outreach (WMO), which is an international nonprofit organization based in Nicaragua that provides food, education, medical and ministry services to the country's citizens.
The cargo was being delivered by Air Force Reserve Airmen from the 512th AW at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, and the food aboard will be able to feed 15,000 children in Nicaragua for the next six months.
Cargo delivered through the Denton Program is provided by donors or private charities and is shipped worldwide free of charge for applicants that request transportation support.
“The program provides donating agencies with a great opportunity to move humanitarian cargo to places like Nicaragua and it saves a tremendous amount of transportation costs for these organizations,” said Ken Hundemer, the director of operations, Denton Operations at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina.
Donna Wright, who helps run the WMO said the Denton Program is one of the main reasons why the WMO has been able to continue providing food and other services to the people of Nicaragua.
“We were sending so many containers to Nicaragua each year that we were in great financial need. A few sponsors helped, but it wasn’t nearly enough to cover the shipping cost.” Wright said. “When we received the first shipment from the Denton Program everyone at World Missions Outreach were completely blown away. The Denton Program has been a game changer for WMO, and ultimately, a life changer for thousands of children.”
The relief supplies being delivered on behalf of the DOD also supported the diplomatic efforts of the U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua. Col. Matthew D. Anderson, senior defense official and attaché for the embassy, said the U.S. has been working to increase their cooperation with the Nicaraguan government on matters like humanitarian and disaster relief.
“Having the U.S. Air Force support us by delivering food to thousands of children here is a huge deal,” Anderson said. “The Dover C-5M and its aircrew were instrumental in participating in an important program.”
For Wright and WMO, the delivery of humanitarian aid by the 512th AW provided a lasting impact on her organization and the children in Nicaragua.
“We have great pride in the United States and our service members on these humanitarian missions have brought food, school kits, health kits, clothes and shoes for the children here,” Wright said. “We appreciate the help and support from our U.S. military and the Denton Program.”