Comfort Sailors Deliver Goodwill Items to Haitian Youth

Story Number: NNS100219-04Release Date: 2/19/2010 12:21:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Timothy Wilson, USNS Comfort Public Affairs

USNS COMFORT, At Anchor (NNS) -- Sailors from the pastoral care department aboard USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) delivered toys and clothes Feb. 15 to children at the University of Miami Field Hospital recovering from injuries suffered in the earthquake that devastated Haiti.

"It's great the Navy came today," said Ntiense Endoken, head registered nurse of the field hospital from the University of Miami Hospital. "The kids get bored and [the Sailors] play with them so that leaves more time to attend to the really sick ones, the ones who can't get out of bed."

Lt. Cmdr. Joe Molina, a chaplain aboard Comfort, organized the day's events to help the children in need. "[This was] an opportunity to distribute items
personally in the pediatric ward with their parents there," Molina said. "We were able to give away these donations directly."

Children from Saint Margaret Mary's Catholic School in Winter Part, Fla. donated toys, clothes, games and books to patients. Their generosity came at a time when leisure diversions are scarce in the Haiti.

The items were originally intended for patients receiving treatment aboard Comfort to help in their rehabilitation, but the donations were so plentiful, Molina distributed them to additional children in need.

Volunteers and staff at the hospital helped Sailors hand out the boxes of goods to the children.

"The teamwork between the military and civilian organizations is extremely organized," Endoken said. "It's an extra set of hands to help us out."

Army Pcf. Nina Nieratko is a volunteer at the hospital who fulfills dual roles in helping the Haitians. She provides security for the installation in addition to spending her off time playing with the children.

"I joined the Army to help, and the Haitians need to be taken care of," Nieratko said. "They need everything from food and water to bathing materials."

The injuries being treated at the field hospital range from broken bones and pelvic fractures to post-operative care for amputations and other surgical procedures. Currently the hospital has five nurses for more than 50 patients.

"The people at the field hospital are doing a tremendous job under trying circumstances," Molina said. "They are all gifted nurses and clinicians that are giving up time in their lives back home to come out here."

Military, civilian and nongovernmental agencies from around the globe have banded together as part of Operation Unified Response to ease the suffering of the Haitian people and help them rebuild.

To date, U.S. agencies working under USAID have provided nearly 600 million dollars of assistance to Haiti.

For more news about the relief efforts in Haiti, visit

For more news about USNS Comfort, visit

Lt. Yonnette Thomas, Officer in Charge of the Center for Information Dominance Learning Site in Norfolk translates between Haitian patients and a delegation of visiting physicians.
100214-M-2222A-593 PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Feb. 14, 2010) Lt. Yonnette Thomas, Officer in Charge of the Center for Information Dominance Learning Site in Norfolk translates between Haitian patients and a delegation of visiting physicians from Colombia aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20). Thomas was a (U.S. Navy photo by Staff Sgt. Loobens Alphonse)
February 18, 2010
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