Monday, October 13, 2008

Hitting Our Stride!

The sun set on a day far different from the one originally envisioned due to circumstances, weather, and friendships. The friendships forged here in Dominican Repubic, and on Kearsarge, shaped this to into a very memorable and adventurous day. I started off in Sabana Grande. Our engineers are building seahuts at the local elementary school. They industriously hammer and saw under the hot sun, also constructing a playground and a basketball court.
In Sabana Grande, Project Handclasp donated soccer balls and textbooks. A ceremony was held in a little white gazebo in the middle of town, where the Governor and Mayor, the Director of Education and the school principal, parents and students ran to welcome us. They were so appreciative that they planned a spectacular ceremony for us, complete with teenagers entertaining us with local dances and music, and speeches all around. After the ceremony the Governor took us to a local restaurant for lunch, where we discussed other ways to lend our assistance.
I then drove through palm tree farms and over mountains to one of our medical sites in Bayaguana. Our medical teams have been quite busy, treating approximately 1,200 patients each day. When we reached the medical site, a daily thunderstorm rolled through and it became impossible for our helicopters to reach us to whisk us back to Kearsarge. With quick thinking and teamwork, we bussed the medical teams two hours back to Santa Domingo where our LCU boat met us to take us back to Kearsarge under the moonlit sky.
Although the day ended later than expected, I was glad to see firsthand the appreciative faces of schoolchildren and parents, educators and doctors, as they accepted our help and Project Handclasp donations. The people of Dominican Republic value family and friendships as much as we do in America – this shared belief is what drives us all to work late into the night. Bouncing through the waves on the LCU to Kearsarge, I can only marvel at the hard work of our crewembers who scrambled to get the medical teams back home for a good night sleep, so they can awake before dawn and begin anew. We are at the half point of the deployment and our mission in DOMREP. But you could not tell by the enthusiasm around the ship and in the field. We continue to have more volunteers that we have projects and out HN continue to demonstrate an out pour of support not experienced in any other previous countries. We will soon celebrate our 233rd Navy Birthday and what a celebration it is….seafarers on and all. What a difference a day makes, what a difference in deed!!!


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for keeping us at home updated. It really does make a difference!

Anonymous said...

if i had an emergency how would i get a hold of my husband on that ship?

Teri Harris said...

I don't know if anyone has reponded to your post. I would recommend 2 things.
1) Contact the American Red Cross. They can expedite a message to any service member anywhere in the world.
Here is the direct link to reach them:,1082,0_476_,00.html

2) I would recommend that you contact the command ombudsman.

My name is Teri Harris. If I can help you in anyway, please don't hesitate to call me.

Teri Harris said...

I'm sorry the Red Cross Link got cut off - here it is again!

Hope this helps!
Teri Harris

Teri Harris said...

There are two listed as Command Ombudsman for the Kearsarge:

Jamie (757)375-2801
Wendy (757)375-2800.

Anonymous said...