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CALBAYOG, Philippines - Staff members supporting Pacific Partnership 2012 (PP12) held a donation ceremony at the Calbayog Special Education (SPED) Center in the Philippines June 22 as part of PP12.
U.S. military, partner nation and non-governmental organization (NGO) personnel donated 196 boxes of school supplies, hygiene kits and books for teachers and children during the ceremony.
Chief Petty Officer Justin Roth, the officer-in-charge of the donation ceremony, said the handover was a special moment for those involved.
“I think it was a great opportunity to take part in this event because I was able to see the smiles on all of the children’s faces, and see how much everyone appreciated what we’re doing to assist the school,” Roth said.
Madison S. Burr, a Latter Day Saints Charities volunteer participating in PP12 aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), said there were hundreds of excited children waiting to greet them.
“The children surrounded us and asked to take photos, write autographs and give high-fives, and they were really excited to be able to interact with us,” he said.
The event consisted of a variety of performances including a U.S. Pacific Fleet Band concert for the children and dances performed by students attending the school.
“I think the performances were fantastic and the children were ecstatic to be involved. They really responded to the music in a positive way,” said Burr.
Children were not the only upbeat participants. Many of the PP12 staff members claimed to feel the same way, including Burr.
“I’m having a great time participating in PP12 and taking part in events like this. It has been a great opportunity to participate and work together with the U.S military, partner and host nations, and other NGOs whom we’re here to assist,” he said.
Now in its seventh year, Pacific Partnership is an annual U.S. Pacific Fleet humanitarian and civic assistance mission U.S. military personnel, host and partner nations, non-governmental organizations and international agencies to build stronger relationships and develop disaster response capabilities throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
For more information about the PP12 mission, please visit the Pacific Partnership Blog or engage with Pacific Partnership on Facebook and Twitter.