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Soldiers complete projects in Ethiopia

Army News Service

Release Date: 10/08/2003

By Sgt. Bradley Shaver

HURSO, Ethiopia (Army News Service, Oct. 8, 2003) -- A new school and clinic constructed on the Horn of Africa by U.S. Army troops marked the 100-year anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and Ethiopia.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in Hurso, Ethiopia, Sept. 29 to celebrate the grand opening. The school and clinic, built by the Army's 463rd Engineer Battalion and 478th Civil Affairs Battalion (Special Operations), will be used to increase the health and education of the local community.

According to Ambassador Aurelia Brazeal, who is a career member of the U.S. Senior Foreign Service, this year marks an extraordinary anniversary for the entire American community in Ethiopia.

"The unique character of our relationship has helped to sustain it, and it has been strengthened over the years by a series of people-to-people contacts between Ethiopians and Americans who were able to rely on each other in times of need," said Brazeal. "It is extremely important to us that both of our nations continue to value and sustain a friendship that allows for this level of collaboration.

"I hope and believe that our friendship will last not only another 100 years, but thousands of years to come," she said.

The grand opening ceremony began with a speech from the President of Somali Regional State, Abdi Jibril Abubakar.

These civil-military humanitarian assistance projects will contribute to the development and well-being of the people of Hurso for a long-time to come, Abubakar said.

During the ceremony Brig. Gen. Willard Broadwater, the deputy commander of the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa addressed the local residents and guests, saying that by providing better education and health care, America can strengthen Ethiopian communities and help make them more prosperous, stable and peaceful.

"Here in Hurso, the governments of Ethiopia and the United States have worked together to fulfill a number of critical needs of the community," said Broadwater. "A newly refurbished school building that will provide for a better environment for the education of the children. A newly built and expanded clinic facility, where nurses and care providers will have a clean and improved place to provide health care services for the community.

"Additionally, our civil affairs team recently provided much-needed support to the Polio vaccination initiative in the surrounding area," he said.

Besides cooperation in combating terrorism, the American government is helping the Ethiopian country on various development efforts and in the fight against poverty.

"We believe the continuation of this cooperation is instrumental to the betterment of the living condition of our society," said Abubakar. "I would like to express my gratitude to the U.S. government, and hope that the assistance they provide us will continue."

From CJTF-HOA, medical and school supplies were donated for the new additions, as well as a tent for the local Women's Association, which will serve as a gathering place for the organization.

Local adults and children showed their support and appreciation to the service members with displays of singing and dancing.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Armando Martinez, civil affairs team sergeant, said "The three months I've spent in Hurso working on this project made my time in the Horn of Africa worthwhile. Our four-man team has built a special bond and friendship with the people of Hurso that will carry on throughout the rest of their lives as well as our own."

(Editor's note: Sgt. Bradly Shaver is a member of the CJTF-HOA Public Affairs Office.)

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