The 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron (MSAS) joined efforts with the Salvadoran Air Force (FAS in Spanish) as part of a joint endeavor to give back to the local community of San Martin, located in San Salvador, El Salvador, September 6, 2018. The joint effort was aimed at supporting the Salvadoran Institute for Integral Development for Children and Adolescents (ISNA in Spanish), which serves approximately 88 children, many of them with mental and physical disabilities.
During the event, Air Force personnel from both countries donated towels, blankets, pillow covers and personal hygiene kits. The event also consisted of a party with clowns, piñatas and free haircuts.
“This is an opportunity that enables us to reach the hearts of the Salvadoran people,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. James Garcia-Arvelo, 571st MSAS air advisor. “We are not only trying to reach our military brothers, but also leave a good impression on the community.”
According to FAS Colonel Raymundo Eduardo Torruella Rico, executive of the 1st Aerial Brigade, one of the pillars of the constitutional mission of FAS is to perform actions that benefit the population in the health and well-being department. “The donation that the U.S. Air Force is providing with the combined effort of the Salvadoran Air Force benefits 88 children that are in need,” Col. Torruella said. “It also allows us to provide and give a little bit more of encouragement to the development here in this center, and at the same time, support the Salvadoran citizens where they need it most.”
ISNA plans to replenish all their stock with the donated goods, and whatever is left, will be sent to other ISNA centers around the country. “It was a pleasant surprise that was given to us by both of these institutions,” said Ricardo Matias Lazo, director of ISNA’s Special Education Center. “It is a lot of help and a kind gift.”
U.S. Air Force Major Norbertha Cooper, 571st MSAS mission commander, recognized the efforts of the U.S. Embassy Civil Affairs personnel and the municipal government for making the event possible.
“We are here working with the U.S. Embassy to build partnerships and increase interoperability between the U.S. and El Salvador’s military forces,” Maj. Cooper said. “This community event helps us highlight our presence here and our interoperability between both forces. It’s a pleasure to be here and we want to thank you for welcoming us into your country and your homes.”
Alex Ivan Salinas, director of ISNA’s Social Integral Center for Children and Teenagers, thanked both military units on behalf of all the children and teenage residents in the institution. “We hope that this is not the first nor the last time we welcome you here,” Salinas said. “Our doors are open for all and we will always await your arrival, not only this donation, but also to share some happiness playing football, breaking a piñata or whatever we can do to help these children. Many of them do not receive this attention in their homes nor the required stimuli for the activities that you bring to us, it really motivates our children and teenagers, which brings them a lot of joy