News: US Army soldier shares a life of humanitarian experiences in his own way
Story by Sgt. Richard Frost
SONSONATE, El Salvador - A U.S. Army water purification engineer participating in a humanitarian mission in El Salvador has witnessed first-hand the effects that humanitarian missions can have on a country, including his own, and he is determined to share his experience with the world.
Sgt. Francis Buor, 753rd Quartermaster Company, Green Bay, Wis., originally from Liberia, is currently participating in Beyond the Horizon-El Salvador, a humanitarian mission where U.S. military members, along with soldiers from Canada, Chile, Columbia and El Salvador, are providing medical expertise and building schools to improve lives of residents here.
The exercise concludes in late June.
His perspective is giving him the opportunity to begin a new life of self-sacrifice, that will hopefully bring peace and stability to regions of the world that are in need of these attributes, he said.
“This is my first opportunity to deploy with the Army,” said Buor. “I’m really excited about it. When I was in the schools here, I couldn’t help but think, ‘Is someone great going to come out of one of these schools?’ It’s inspiring to be doing this work.”
Buor’s parents are both from Ghana, but they moved with their family to Liberia in order to provide a better life for their children. He returned to Ghana to attend school there, and not long after, a civil war broke out in Liberia that would last for many years.
A Western African, multi-lateral armed force, called the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG), soon began providing transportation for those wishing to leave Liberia, to include most of his family, back to Ghana.
This intervention made a significant impact on his family, according to Buor. For him, it was motivation to begin a life of service that continues to this day.
In the early 1990s, Buor sought employment at a water treatment facility in Ghana, where he worked as a treatment specialist and provided community drinking water to several communities for many years.
The work was fulfilling, he said, but in 2009, he decided to seek a new life in the United States, serving with what he calls, “the greatest Army in the world.”
Buor earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology in Ghana in order to provide humanitarian services around the world. When he moved to Wisconsin, he joined the Army.
His history with water treatment and sociology drove him to the 753rd Quartermaster Battalion, where he has been able to exercise his skills to help others, he said.
“Everything I’ve done before, I’ve had the chance to practice it here,” Buor said. “It gives me a sense of accomplishment; I’m putting to use something I’ve learned before.”
His unit is currently participating in this humanitarian mission in El Salvador. It was his first chance to leave the United States as a member of the Wisconsin National Guard. He feels he is contributing to this effort by offering the services he has been practicing his entire life.
“My motivation was from seeing what goes on around the world,” he said. “Sometimes you ask yourself, ‘If we don’t do what we’re doing, what would the life of these people be like?’ So you want to look at the greater picture.”
The impact he and his unit’s contributions have made amounted to approximately 6,000 gallons of potable water per day for this three-month mission. But the reward, Buor says, does not come from the command staff.
“I’m kind of excited, we’re doing something meaningful,” said Buor.
“But the reward comes when you see the children’s smiles, and how much they appreciate what we’re doing here. It comes from making these children happy,” he concluded.