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Suriname Hosts Welcoming Ceremony for Comfort

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS071003-19
Release Date: 10/3/2007 5:40:00 PM


By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Karsten, USNS Comfort Public Affairs

PARAMARIBO, Suriname (NNS) -- A welcoming ceremony for the arrival of hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) was held at the Youth Dental Foundation in Paramaribo, Oct. 2.

The ceremony marked the beginning of a humanitarian visit to Suriname where Comfort is providing services at six sites including the Youth Dental Foundation.

Speakers included Rudy Strijk, district commissioner of Paramaribo; Lisa Bobbie Schreiber Hughes, U.S. ambassador to Suriname; Capt. Bob Kapcio, Comfort’s mission commander; and Ivan Fernald, Suriname minister of defense.

“We look forward to bringing the skills of the people aboard this unique, first-class ship to our friends and partners in Suriname,” Kapcio said. “Being able to help those who reach out to the U.S. and to make their futures brighter is what has made this mission special.”

Hughes thanked the staff, crew and medical professionals from Comfort for their devotion during the past six months of planning and carrying out medical missions in 12 countries.

Fernald spoke of the partnership between the United States and Suriname.

“The arrival of the [Comfort] demonstrates the commitment of the U.S. working together with neighboring nations and helping people through medical and humanitarian assistance,” Fernald said. "I would like to convey my gratitude to the President of the United States, Mr. George W. Bush, who made this project possible. I hope that the Comfort team will look back on this mission as a job well done."

The ceremony concluded with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a tour of the dental clinic.

Comfort staff, consisting of U.S. Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Public Health Service and Canadian Forces, as well as non-government organization Project Hope; is working alongside Suriname medical professionals to provide primary adult and pediatric care, dental, optometry, physical therapy and veterinary services during the course of the visit. Additionally, Naval Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 202 will provide construction services at several sites around Paramaribo.

Comfort is on a four-month humanitarian deployment to Latin America and the Caribbean providing medical care to patients in a dozen countries.

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