by U.S. Air Force Capt. Connie Dillon
Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs
3/4/2015 - SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras -- More
than 172 members of Joint Task Force-Bravo completed a seven-mile round
trip hike to deliver more than 4,500 pounds of food and supplies to
families in need in the mountain village of La Brea and Laguna,
Honduras, Feb. 28, 2015.
The Task Force members participated in the 59th JTF-Bravo chapel hike, a
long-standing tradition during which service members donate funds to
purchase food and supplies, and then carry those items on a hike through
the mountains to deliver them to local underserviced communities, which
is difficult to access by vehicle. Along with the service members, the
U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Honduras, James Nealon, and Julie
Schechter-Torres, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy, joined in
on the hike.
The hike was no easy stroll though. During the 3.5 mile trek up the
mountain, Task Force members made an elevation gain of 1,500 feet while
carrying more than 20 pounds of supplies each.
Making the event successful took a large amount of coordination.
"For this trip, the chaplain's office worked together with Joint Task
Force-Bravo's intelligence office and civil and military operations
office, along with Joint Security Forces and the 1st Battalion, 228th
Aviation Regiment Unit Ministry Team to scope out and select a village,"
said U.S. Air Force Capt. Samuel McClellan, Joint Task Force-Bravo
command chaplain. "In addition, we worked with the Governor of Comayagua
since she wanted to support La Brea and donate 65 bags of food she
acquired from the Honduran FEMA-equivalent agency, Comision Permanente
de Contingencias (COPECO)."
Between the two villages, approximately 230 families received the
donated goods. Each family received approximately three-days worth of
food, which was purchased by the JTF-Bravo Chapel using funds donated by
Prior to distributing the goods from the service members to the
families, the Laguna town leader, Maria Pinera expressed her gratitude.
"Our friends, our neighbors are visiting us here today, but they are not
coming empty handed. They are coming here with nutrition for the
people," said Pinera. "Thanks be to God, and again, thank you."
After delivering the food and supplies, Task Force members spent time
interacting with the villagers and playing with the children, including
providing them with three piñatas full of candy to break open and 24
soccer balls, which were donated by the non-profit organization, Kick
for Nick Foundation, to play with. Many of the children also filled
their hands and pockets with the candy they were given by the
Since the chapel hikes originate in 2004, over 9,800 service members
have donated over $173,800 and volunteered their time to deliver more
than 214,000 pounds of food and supplies to several remote villages.