Guatemala 2013: Day 7

Friday, August 16, 2013

Today was certainly one of the most hectic days this week. After training the bomberos for a couple hours as well as allowing one group to Rappell (they were unable to do so on their assigned day), we were able to rappell from the helicopter. This helicopter was a UH-1 Huey, which is no longer in service in the United States. As such it was the opportunity of a lifetime and everyone involved had a ball. The pilots were very skilled and Mr. Allcox even said that they could compete with many helicopter pilots in the U.S. It was about a 60-ft drop to the ground; everyone’s jump went smoothly.

After the Helo training was completed, the Minister of Defense arrived to watch our team demonstrate a helicopter rescue. Chief Pease and Chuck Webb rappelled from the helicopter and then tied David Thompson in a Stokes basket. They then proceeded to lift the basket while they attended to the “victim” and moved the basket approximately 100 yards horizontally. We then met the Minister and received his thanks for the hard work we have done this week instructing the Rescate and the Bomberos.

A few hours later, the closing ceremonies for the week were held. Each participant received a diploma, shaking hands with Chief Pease, Roger Harrison (the President of Paramedics for Children, Silvana Ayuso (Vice-President and the coordinator for Paramedics for Children), Colonel Mazariegos (UHR) and other officials. Each member of our team then received an award and a certificate of gratitude from the UHR. After the ceremony, we spent time taking pictures with the Bomberos and the Rescate, saying our goodbyes and trading tokens of appreciation. We are all so very proud of every class participant as well as honored to have been able to go on this trip.

Some words that stuck with us from Silvana: “If we unite and work together every day to better the lives of all people and end suffering here in Guatemala and in other countries, there will come a day when there will be a smile, bread and water for every man, woman and child.” Her words accurately summed up the mission of the UHR, a mission that we are honored to have been a part of.