CJTF-HOA Volunteers give Shoes to Djiboutian Children

A child tries on a new pair of shoes Oct 12, 2014, at the Caritas Djibouti Clinic, Djibouti. Twenty five service members from Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa distributed nearly 460 pairs of donated shoes as well as 60 bags and 10 boxes of donated clothing, toys and school supplies. Child Tries on New Pair of Shoes at the Caritas Djibouti Clinic

A child tries on a new pair of shoes Oct 12, 2014, at the Caritas Djibouti Clinic, Djibouti. Twenty five service members from Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa distributed nearly 460 pairs of donated shoes as well as 60 bags and 10 boxes of donated clothing, toys and school supplies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Riley Johnson)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Matthew Smith, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa CJ-6, carries a child on his shoulders Oct 12, 2014, at the Caritas Djibouti Clinic, Djibouti. U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. carries a Child on his Shoulders at Caritas Djibouti Clinic

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Matthew Smith, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa CJ-6, carries a child on his shoulders Oct 12, 2014, at the Caritas Djibouti Clinic, Djibouti. Twenty five service members from CJTF-HOA distributed nearly 460 pairs of donated shoes as well as 60 bags and 10 boxes of donated clothing, toys and school supplies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Riley Johnson)

A Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa member holds a child’s hand during a volunteer event Oct 12, 2014, at the Caritas Djibouti Clinic, Djibouti. CJTF-HOA Member holds a Child’s Hand during Volunteer Event at Caritas Djibouti Clinic

A Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa member holds a child’s hand during a volunteer event Oct 12, 2014, at the Caritas Djibouti Clinic, Djibouti. Twenty five service members from Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa distributed nearly 460 pairs of donated shoes as well as 60 bags and 10 boxes of donated clothing, toys and school supplies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Riley Johnson)

U.S. Army Cpl. Brad McPherson, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa CJ-6, helps a child try on shoes Oct 12, 2014, at the Caritas Djibouti Clinic, Djibouti U.S. Army Cpl. helps a Child try on Shoes at Caritas Djibouti Clinic

U.S. Army Cpl. Brad McPherson, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa CJ-6, helps a child try on shoes Oct 12, 2014, at the Caritas Djibouti Clinic, Djibouti. Twenty five service members from Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa distributed nearly 460 pairs of donated shoes as well as 60 bags and 10 boxes of donated clothing, toys and school supplies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Riley Johnson)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Denise Rodriguez, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa CJ-6, left, and U.S. Army Cpl. Darnelle O’Hair, CJTF-HOA CJ-6, help a child try on shoes Oct 12, 2014, at the Caritas Djibouti Clinic, Djibouti. CJTF-HOA Personnel help Child try on Shoes at Caritas Djibouti Clinic

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Denise Rodriguez, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa CJ-6, left, and U.S. Army Cpl. Darnelle O’Hair, CJTF-HOA CJ-6, help a child try on shoes Oct 12, 2014, at the Caritas Djibouti Clinic, Djibouti. Twenty five service members from Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa distributed nearly 460 pairs of donated shoes as well as 60 bags and 10 boxes of donated clothing, toys and school supplies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Riley Johnson)

Twenty five service members from Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa distributed donated shoes, clothes, toys and school supplies to Djiboutian children Oct. 12, 2014, at the Caritas Djibouti Clinic.

The CJTF-HOA CJ-6 Expeditionary Communications volunteers distributed nearly 460 pairs of donated shoes as well as 60 bags and 10 boxes of donated clothing, toys and school supplies.

“I believe this is why we joined the military,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Jason Brown, CJ-63 director of operations. “Not just to fight and protect our country, but to make a difference everywhere we go. My hope is that it gives people a little bit of hope that things are going to be better in the future.”

Brown, who initiated a similar event during his last deployment, said he organized this donation of toys, clothes, shoes and school supplies because he heard there was a need. His friends, family, U.S. coworkers and the Ashland Military Support Group from his hometown in Ashland, Ohio, donated most of the shoes.

After giving out the shoes, the volunteers played soccer, danced and took photos with the children.

“My favorite part is just getting to hang out with the kids,” said U.S. Army Spc. Lauralee Vencill, CJTF-HOA CJ-6 Tactical Communications radio telephone operator. “They are really excited to see us.”

While the children walked away with new shoes, the CJ-6 members walked away with a new perspective.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Denise Rodriguez, CJ-6 executive assistant, who co-organized the event, said it’s important because “It’s a humbling experience and it reminds you to be thankful for what you have.”

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Caritas Djibouti Clinic Donations

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