Salutes & Awards

June 15, 2012

Security forces work to find C.U.R.E.

Story and photo by Staff Sgt. Jason Colbert
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Jerry Haupt, top left, 56th Security Forces Squadron standards and evaluations, and Staff Sgt. Steven Bruner, 56th SFS military working dog handler, place a gurney on a forklift for shipment to Guatemala in the Project C.U.R.E. warehouse in Mesa. Project C.U.R.E. ships an average of $500,000 of medical equipment every two weeks to developing countries around the world. The organization has only one paid employee and regularly enlists the aid of 20 to 25 volunteers to help organize the items in the 40,000-square-foot warehouse.

Most people know the job of security forces is to protect U.S. Air Force assets. But the members of the 56th Security Forces Squadron are showing they can do that and also reach out across the world to help other people.

Members of the 56th SFS volunteered their time to load cargo containers with medical supplies. Working alongside Project C.U.R.E., Commission on Urgent Relief & Equipment, they loaded a cargo truck with $400,000 worth of medical supplies.

“Anybody who has been in the military long enough has seen Third World countries,” said Jerry Haupt, 56th SFS standards and evaluation. “They understand poverty in those countries goes to a completely different level.”

Members of the 56th SFS volunteer once a month to Project C.U.R.E. The organization takes donations from medical supply warehouses and from hospitals upgrading their equipment. They clean them, perform operations checks and prepare them for shipment to developing countries around the world. Using volunteers like those from the 56th SFS, they are able to sort the items in their 40,000-square-foot warehouse for shipment, delivering a shipment every two weeks to somewhere in the world.

“I heard about the project through work,” said Airman 1st Class Ashley Foltz, 56th SFS patrolman. “It’s all for a good cause.”

Foltz was one of 14 volunteers from the 56th SFS who traveled to the warehouse to help load a medical supply shipment.

“It’s amazing to get a bunch of people together to do something like this — being selfless and helping others out.”

The volunteers receive letters of thanks from people in the countries the supplies are sent to along with pictures and stories of how the medical supplies saved the lives of the people there. They are also told what the medical practices are like without their help. The supplies range from bandages, stethoscopes, and syringes to more complex equipment like x-ray machines and sonograms.

“It’s good to know that when we close the doors on these containers, one month later they are opening them in the countries that need them,” Haupt said. “I’m so proud of our troops for volunteering for this and for the work they do.”

For more information on volunteering to help PROJECT C.U.R.E., call Haupt at (623) 856-9578 or visit www.projectcure.org.




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