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    ‘Above and Beyond’ the Horizon

    Western Regional Hospital Ribbon Cutting

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Nichole Bonham | Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for new buildings at Western Regional Hospital on Tuesday,...... read more read more

    During his opening speech at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new expansion at Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan, Belize on June 17, 2017, Ministry of Health Chief of Staff, Dr. Rene Godoy, affectionately renamed the mission responsible for the construction project to ‘Above and Beyond’ the Horizon.

    Beyond the Horizon is an annual collaborative training exercise between U.S. Army South and partner nations in Central and South America. This year’s exercise took place in Belize where one of the scheduled engineering missions was to provide an extension to Western Regional Hospital’s emergency room and build a new housing for an on-site incinerator. However, as it became clear during the ribbon cutting ceremony, the assigned crew managed to accomplish far more than originally planned.

    Lt. Col. Robert Ramsey, senior defense official and defense attaché for the U.S. Embassy, listed some of the additional projects in his speech during the ceremony.

    “They restored the playground behind the hospital, complete with new chains, swing, and fresh paint, giving the children a safe, clean place to play while they wait,” Ramsey said. “They rebuilt the gazebo that will serve the staff and patients for years to come. And finally, they created a children’s waiting area and painted it with a mural of jungle animals.”

    The team responsible were engineers from the U.S. Air Force Reserves and Belize Defence Force, assisted by U.S. Marine Reservists out of Tennessee.
    “These additional projects, that’s our goal,” said Chief Master Sgt. Richard Nemetz from the 822nd Civil Engineering Flight out of Ft. Worth, Texas. “We start looking for that from day one.”

    Nemetz was one of four Beyond the Horizon team leaders at the Western Regional Hospital site. Capt. Phillip Bray, from 10th Air Force in Ft. Worth, Texas, served as commander of 474th Air Expeditionary Group Detachment Belize, overseeing all Air Force assets participating in Beyond the Horizon. Cpt. Ryan Marzek and Staff Sgt. Dexter Lyles from Bridge Company C, 6th Engineer Support Battalion from Memphis, Tennessee, led the Marines on the site.

    Bray spoke of the members of the Belize Defence Force that rounded out the core team. “The Belize engineers were fantastic the whole time. Without them we could not have accomplished the mission,” Bray said.

    Ramsey also spoke of a community clean-up project the team organized with the assistance of the Embassy staff.

    “Changes include the removal of many downed trees, removing the old fence, a new entrance, an expanded parking lot, and a more user-friendly access for emergency vehicles,” Ramsey said.

    Commander of the Beyond the Horizon 2017 task force, Col. John Simma, spoke of the help his project managers received from the community in order to accomplish their original goals and the additional projects of opportunity.

    “Thank you to the Embassy, Lt. Col. Ramsey, the Chargé herself [referring to acting interim U.S. ambassador to Belize, Adrienne Galanek] was out here painting poles and sidewalks, and the citizens of Belize, the city council from Belmopan that brought the trucks, the business partners that brought the materials that helped them do the expansion and the projects.”

    The Governor General of Belize, H.E. Sir Colville Young, spoke at the ribbon cutting ceremony about the work completed at Western Regional Hospital as well as the goal of all the Beyond the Horizon undertakings throughout Belize.

    “Partnering with us to improve our own educational, medical, and infrastructural facilities. That is what today is all about,” the governor general said. “And all this wonderful work, was done without making Belize feel small. But rather, as a partnership involving the Belize Defence Force, our Ministry of Health, Belmopan city council, the Belize Electricity Limited, and countless public spirited citizens.”

    During her speech, Chargé d’Affairs Ms. Galanek addressed everybody who had joined in the effort, using an even stronger word than partnership.
    “All of you who are here today,” she said, “you, in the family, made it happen.

    “The dedication and love that you put in, each and every day, is really what’s priceless.”



    Date Taken: 06.13.2017
    Date Posted: 06.26.2017 09:27
    Story ID: 239160
    Location: BELMOPAN, BZ 

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