Swift Sailors Deliver Project Handclasp Aid In Jamaica
By Dialogo May 21, 2010Sailors on board high speed vessel Swift (HSV 2) made two Project Handclasp aid deliveries in Port Antonio, Jamaica, May 12. The group first visited the Port Antonio Hospital, where it delivered basic medical supplies, stuffed toys and other much-needed equipment such as stretchers, electro-surgery machines, suction machines and food items. "I'm very honored to be able to transport the material that was brought to this hospital for you all from the United States," said Capt. Kurt Hedberg, mission commander of Southern Partnership Station (SPS) 2010. "It's fantastic being here in Jamaica, and I hope we can extend this partnership long into the future." The Navy's Project Handclasp program is designed to transport educational, humanitarian and goodwill material on a space-available basis aboard U.S. Navy ships for distribution to foreign nation recipients. "I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the U.S. Navy, along with the U.S. Embassy, for this donation," said Wendy Allen-Davis, senior medical officer at the Port Antonio Hospital. "We hope that we will continue this partnership and that we can also look forward for these gifts we are so very grateful for in the future." Swift Sailors also stopped at the Port Antonio Infant School to deliver boxes of school supplies and toys. The Sailors also had the opportunity to spend some time playing and talking with the children at the school. "It made me so happy to be able to interact with the children today," said Yeoman 1st Class (SW) Ursula Wilson, from New York. "It was great to be able to bring smiles to their faces and to both give and get hugs from them." SPS 2010 is a deployment of various specialty platforms to the U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) Area of Responsibility (AOR) in the Caribbean and Latin America, with the primary goal of information sharing with navies, coast guards and civilian services throughout the region. This is the fourth SPS deployment in the USSOUTHCOM AOR and the vision is to continue this effort to maintain a persistent presence in the region as a way to further enhance strong relationships. Swift is operated and navigated by 17 civilian contract mariners working for a private company under charter to the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command. For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusns/.