BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (NNS) -- The Partnership of the of the Americas Task Group 40.0 held a pierside press conference to present donated items from Project Handclasp to local organizations April 27 in Buenos Aires.
Project Handclasp, a U.S. Navy-sponsored humanitarian project founded in 1962, uses a wide variety of donors to make items such as basic medical supplies, toys, hygiene products, sewing machines, food items and at times large items such as ambulances available to those in need.
"One of the exciting evolutions that we will complete while here in Buenos Aires, which directly supports Partnership of the Americas mission of fostering friendly mutual cooperation and understanding between our people, is the distribution of Project Handclasp materials," said Capt. Randy Snyder, commander, Destroyer Squadron 40.
"This is why we call our deployment a partnership as we work to improve our tactics, and forge closer ties with each other as militaries and friends," he added.
During the press conference, an ambulance was presented to Pedro Zanini, president of the Association of Volunteer Fire Fighters of Las Parejas, Santa Fe. The ambulance was donated by the Fire Department of Wilmette, Ill., because of efforts from firefighter and paramedic Jaime Johnson who visited Las Parejas in 2004.
The ceremony also included a presentation of high nutrition meals and disaster relief supplies to representatives from the Red Cross of Argentina.
The Stella Maris Organization, which is equivalent to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, was also presented with sewing machines, medical supplies and hygiene products to aid in the care of people in need in Argentina.
Project Handclasp is coordinated by USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) Command Chaplain Lt. Dennis Wheeler.
"It's an awesome feeling to give so much away, even though we may never see these items in use, we know that the people who receive these materials appreciate them very much," said Wheeler.
Wheeler coordinates with contacts on shore to ensure all the necessary arrangements are made to receive the donated items.
"We began with 140 Handclasp pallets to be off-loaded on this deployment," said Wheeler. "This delivery was a little more significant because of the donation of the ambulance. I think that we certainly made a lasting impression here."
Partnership of the Americas Task Group 40.0 consists of amphibious dock landing ship Pearl Harbor, guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57), guided-missile frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) and Chilean frigate CS Almirante Lattore (FFG 14).
For more information about the Partnership of the Americas and NAVSO, visit www.cusns.navy.mil.
For more news from USS Pearl Harbor, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/lsd52/.