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Seabees Support Relief Efforts in Port-au-Prince

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS100208-17
Release Date: 2/8/2010 1:26:00 PM

By 2nd Lt. Victoria Brayton, JFSOCC Public Affairs

PORT-au-PRINCE, Haiti (NNS) -- Navy Seabees, deployed from Little Creek Amphibious Base, Va., built three tents Jan. 27 at the Quisqueya Christian School to help store medical supplies and provide more space for staffers sleep.

Various non-governmental organizations have lived at the school compound since the Jan. 12 earthquake. Doctors and nurses from relief organizations also use the site as their starting point before going to the various clinics in Haiti.

"These tents are so very, very appreciated," said Mary Dekoter, wife of Quisqueya's elementary and middle school principal and a retired registered practical nurse. "It's a very good setup for all of our supplies."

Prior to the tent construction, medical supplies were stored in the school's chapel. Moving the supplies out to the tents enabled the chapel to be used to hold classes again, she said.

Dekoter has volunteered as a nurse at the school for the past four years, but now she runs the medical tents for all of the non-governmental organizations and doctors.

The tents have electricity and air conditioning to help maintain the integrity of the medicines they store. Inside, are thousands of different medicines and equipment from dressings to orthotic supplies, Dekoter said.

When the school asked the Seabees if they could build storage tents, saying yes was easy.

"Being presented with the opportunity to help these doctors was awesome," said Construction Electrician 2nd Class Andrew Kauffold. "They're the real heroes, you know."

Construction Electrician 1st Class Phillip Brown agreed that helping out the doctors and school managers was exactly what Seabees do.

"Whatever we can do to add to the relief effort and make life easier for these people, that's what we'll strive to do," he said. "We're in the business of customer service. Whatever is needed, we give it. As long as we've got the materials and the tools, we can build it."

In addition to setting up the two medical storage tents and one berthing tent, Seabees have regularly checked in to see if they can offer any other services.

"They're so helpful and polite, we're well cared for," Dekoter said.

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