PUNTA GORDA, Belize — U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Cassandra Glasco says it makes her heart happy whenever she’s able to help other people.
Helping people is essentially in her job description as a New Horizons Belize 2014 medical technician deployed from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., in support of medical readiness training exercises, or MEDRETEs, in the Punta Gorda region in Belize.
The 19-year senior NCO is spending the second year in a row on the New Horizons team, sharing her lessons learned from last year and also sharing her compassionate demeanor with Belizeans lining up to receive free medical care. New Horizons is a multi-faceted exercise geared toward providing mutual medical training and advancement opportunities for Belizean medical providers and their Canadian and U.S. military counterparts.
“The difference I’m seeing this year is our reach has been a little further,” Glasco recalled. “Last year, we stayed closer to the main cities for our MEDRETEs. This year, we are going out into the villages.
“It’s definitely a positive thing to provide medical care in the more remote villages,” she added. “Even though it’s harder, you can see that everybody wants to do more; it would be great if we could get to every village.”
Being one of a few familiar faces from the MEDRETEs in Belize last year has furthered relations as bonds grow stronger.
“We’ve all made several contacts in both the Corozal and Punta Gorda areas in Belize,” Glasco explained. “If they need something, they know who to contact; and if we need something, we know who to talk to. The networking is very beneficial, and the relationships are pretty solid.
“People remember us from last year, and it makes it easier when we’re familiar with each other,” she said.
Other than New Horizons in Belize, Glasco has also spent time in Honduras, Southwest Asia and Germany, as well Arizona and California.
Nineteen years ago, the Sacramento, Calif., native may not have seen herself still in the Air Force, wearing the uniform, deploying and getting ready to retire.
“It all started as a bet,” she said about the reason she joined the Air Force. “But it’s definitely one of the best choices I’ve made.”
Her family is a military family. Her husband is also a master sergeant; he is a crew chief for the Air Force’s F-16 Fighting Falcons.
The mother of two said one of the best parts about being in Belize is seeing and playing with the children and babies who arrive with their families for medical care.
She said she may continue past 20 years in the Air Force, “just as long as I feel I make a difference.”
As a medical Airman, she is certainly making a difference in the lives of people seeking medical care through New Horizons. A flight chief at home station, Glasco doesn’t have many opportunities to practice her hands-on medical skills; however, she’s getting plenty of time to step back in the role of a practicing medical technician during the MEDRETEs.
“I was assigned to assist with logistics, but since there aren’t as many medics as we need, I’ve been stepping out of the logistics role to get back into the medical side,” she said. “Anytime I get to do my medical job, I try to do that.
“It just makes your heart happy,” she said.