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    Building Partnerships during Beyond the Horizon 2017

    Beyond the Horizon 2017

    Photo By Sgt. Eric Roberts | 1st Lt. Hunter Peoples, an engineer with 672nd Engineer Company, an Army Reserve unit...... read more read more

    On a side road off the main highway, just a few miles north of Belize City sits the Ladyville Health Center. It sits just across the road from the bus stop that brings in patients to and from town, and across from the fruit and water stand that will keep its patients fed and hydrated while waiting to be seen by the clinic's only doctor.

    “Some days, we are packed with patients, there is nowhere to put them,” said Kevin Dawson, Ladyville Clinic Head Nurse. “We only have one doctor, and even if we see all the patients then there are no beds for them to stay.”

    The Clinic is too small to serve the people of Ladyville, it is one of the largest villages in Belize, explains Dawson.

    Dawson and others smile as they look on from the porch, and they chat over the sound of heavy equipment moving dirt and rock. They smile as they peer onto the adjacent lot, where soldiers are working away on the latest addition to the clinic provided as part of Beyond the Horizon 2017. BTH 17 is a partnership exercise between the Government of Belize and U.S. Southern Command that will provide three free medical service events and five construction projects throughout the Belize.

    Staff Sgt. William Droskoski, an engineer with the 672nd Engineer Company from Missoula, Montana, explained the Task Force working on the project at the Ladyville Health Center consist of engineers from the U.S. Army Reserve, Belize Defense Force, and the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment.

    “We all work together, we are on the same team,” said Droskoski..

    Droskoski welcomes the challenge of working with a multinational task force and says that it not only will make the village of Ladyville better but will makes the participants of BTH 2017 better. He said not only will the citizens of Ladyville have better access to healthcare, the participants will gain more experience in their craft and they will learn the true value of international partnership.

    “There are no boundaries, work is work, you just dive in with a shovel. If you see someone struggling, you jump in and help,” Droskoski said.

    Staff Sgt. Daniel Burns,an engineer with the 672nd watches just across the site from Droskoski.

    Burns watches intently at what he calls “the ability to improvise” by the engineers from Belize and Trinidad and Tobago, and explains that the work ethic and experience of all the participants will leave each better when they leave.

    “I am excited for the experience, as an Army reserve unit we are bringing contractors, plumbers, electricians, and others that do this type of work every day. They bring so much knowledge,” said Burns.

    “Multiple times a day we encounter an issue where the civilian knowledge of one of our soldiers lends a solution because they see it every day at their civilian job.”

    Burns added that the unique skill the soldiers of 672nd brings to the mission, gives more to the citizens of Ladyville and to the each participant at the work site. The codes by which we build may be different, our uniforms may be different but we are a team.

    When I look over and see the clinic that Ladyville currently has, and then I look over at our side, it hits me. We are making a difference, all the participants are making a difference regardless where they come from, said Burns.

    Dawson said he eagerly awaits the day when they have space for two doctors and the capability to treat more patients.

    By the end of BTH 2017, the clinic will finally be a reality for Dawson and his hometown. Dawson said he has not considered leaving for a bigger city with a better situation, as he wants to make a difference close to home.

    “This is my hometown, I want to serve the people here, and they need attention as well, not just the ones as the city. I am serving them, we are giving them access to healthcare as much as I can,” said Dawson.

    Healthcare access is central to the mission of BTH 2017, and to each individual participant.

    According Droskoski, the impact of the mission may not be evident just yet, as the building is still in the beginning stages. However, he knows that the finish product will make a difference for years to come.

    “When we come here ten years from now, we will be able to say, we built this,” said Droskoski.



    Date Taken: 03.29.2017
    Date Posted: 04.05.2017 17:02
    Story ID: 229262
    Location: BZ

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