Sunday, October 5, 2008

Getting Started . . .

Our first day here in Dominican Republic was a great success. I took an orientation flight to different sites where Continuing Promise will be providing medical care and building structures for the Dominicans. The flight illuminated a beautiful country, with rolling hills and a sunny shoreline. I attended a welcoming ceremony in the morning. The CP Team Leaders, along with Ambassador Fannin and other military and civilian personnel from the U.S. Embassy were greeted by a marching band; very exciting with lots of pomp and circumstances. Our hosts included the COS for the Navy along with other senior naval officers from the Dominican Republic. Our mission and our message is clear, we are here to help the government of DOMREP provide essential care and support to its citizens.
Our engineering team was greeted by a spectacular site in the town of Sabana Grande, where they are building a playground and seahuts at the elementary school named Escuela Basica Presbitero Carlos Novel. The assistant to the Mayor met our engineers when they landed and escorted them to the school. Upon arriving, a pickup truck’s loud speaker system circling the area announced of the arrival of Continuing Promise, encouraging the townspeople to come out and welcome us.
The Engineers spent time with the school leaders surveying the construction site followed by a small ceremony hosted by the Mayor, Sindico Marcos Tavarez, and the local pastor, Chief of Police, principal and staff of the school, parents and students. In total, approximately 800 people were present. The Mayor spoke at length about how much this project and America’s presence meant to the community, and asked local volunteers to partner with Continuing Promise and work along side us.
The many warm and heartfelt welcomes we received today hearten us all, and show once again that we are touching many lives. We are on a mission of providing assistance to those in need; our friends, and our neighbors in the Dominican Republic. It is a mission that will strengthen relations while furthering stability, security and prosperity within the region. We are here; there is much to be done, and we are eager to get started. Time, as always, is of the essence, and we have none to waste; so let us be about the task at hand.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here's a huge thank you from A... (believe it or not) MOTHER-IN-LAW! Sounds like everyone had a great and well deserved R and R in San Juan. Your blog is awesome. I check it daily...I've taken it upon myself to 'spread the news' of the humanitarian tasks the military is involved in. Thanks again.

Heather K. said...

I know you've gotten lots of thanks throughout this deployment for keeping all of us back here at home updated, but I'd just like to say once again how much we appreciate it. My husband is currently an ABF aboard the Kearsarge, and we're expecting our first child around the 4th of December. It really eases my mind to know how you're all doing, and where you are. If there is any way you could keep us posted on your estimated arrival date back home, I would really appreciate it. My husband and I are both very anxious, as the ship's arrival date could affect him being here for the birth of our little girl.

Thank you so much,

Heather K.

Commodore Frank Ponds said...

Heather, our schedule is pretty set to return 1 December. Congratulations on your new baby. It is truly a blessing and I wish you both well. All The Best; Frank

Commodore Frank Ponds said...

Anonymous, you are most welcome...
I have a terrific team of professionals out here; Doctors, Surgeons, Public Health, VETS, Dentists, Engineers, etc and they have all bought into the team concept of mission first. No egos just commitment. I could not feel more honored to have the lead of such a tremendous and talented team. FLP

Maggie said...

I have been following the blog since you started. I appreciate the updates. It is a different perspective than what my husband sees. Thanks for updates!