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87 APS supports humanitarian mission

Staff Sgt. Matt Fehrman guides Staff Sgt. Kirk Laytart as he places a skid of 66 Hope Boxes onto a pallet in preparation for military airlift to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The Hope Boxes, provided by A Child’s Hope International in Cincinnati, contain water filtration kits to purify a collective 30,000 gallons of water, as well as 64,000 meals. These Hope Boxes were handpacked in June and have a shelf life on three years. Airlifted on a space-available basis as part of the Denton program, the boxes will be picked up by nonprofit agencies in Haiti and distributed to children and families.

Staff Sgt. Matt Fehrman guides Staff Sgt. Kirk Laytart as he places a skid of 66 Hope Boxes onto a pallet in preparation for military airlift to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The Hope Boxes, provided by A Child’s Hope International in Cincinnati, contain water filtration kits to purify a collective 30,000 gallons of water, as well as 64,000 meals. These Hope Boxes were handpacked in June and have a shelf life on three years. Airlifted on a space-available basis as part of the Denton program, the boxes will be picked up by nonprofit agencies in Haiti and distributed to children and families.

Senior Airmen Mariah Blankenship and Dan Iwamoto, both 87th Aerial Port Squadron cargo handling technicians, prepare a pallet of Hope Boxes destined for Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Each individual Hope Box contains nutritious food for 216 meals, along with a water filtration system to purify 100 gallons of water. In all, the 87th APS processed more than 300 Hope Boxes during the October UTA.

Senior Airmen Mariah Blankenship and Dan Iwamoto, both 87th Aerial Port Squadron cargo handling technicians, prepare a pallet of Hope Boxes destined for Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Each individual Hope Box contains nutritious food for 216 meals, along with a water filtration system to purify 100 gallons of water. In all, the 87th APS processed more than 300 Hope Boxes during the October UTA.

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio --

During the October 17-18, 2020 unit training assembly, the 87th Aerial Port Squadron processed nearly 100,000 pounds of food and water filtration kits bound for Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The Hope Boxes, hand-packed by volunteers in Cincinnati, Ohio, are being military airlifted through the Denton program, an amendment named for former Navy pilot and senator Jeremiah Denton, which allows the Department of Defense to transport humanitarian supplies from nonprofit organizations to nations in need, with no added cost to the DoD or the nation accepting the aid.

Over the years, the 87th APS has helped move approximately 814 tons of supplies to four different countries, said Chief Master Sgt. Sean Storms, aerial port manager.

“The agencies providing the aid bring us anything from food and cots to firetrucks,” Storms said. “We ship it all.”

The humanitarian supplies are transported on military aircraft on a space-available basis. The 87th APS typically processes this unique cargo once every few months, said Tech. Sgt. Kevin Shaffer, air terminal operations center senior controller.

“Today we’re processing about 100,000 pounds of food and water filtration systems for airlift next week,” he said.

The Hope Boxes, provided by A Child’s Hope International, contain nutritious, vegetarian meals that require 20 minutes of boiling to prepare, and are shelf-stable for three years prior to cooking.

Additionally, the organization sends enough Proctor & Gamble water purification packets in each Hope Box to provide 100 gallons of clean drinking water. The shipment the 87th APS processed in October contained over 300 Hope Boxes, equaling 30,000 gallons of purified water and 64,000 child-portioned meals.

“What we’re doing here today really matters to someone out there,” said Tech. Sgt. John Hardisky, cargo processing supervisor. “Not only will their quality of life will be impacted because of this shipment, but for some people, this could mean the difference between life and death.”

Once the shipment arrives in Haiti, several local agencies will pick up their portion and distribute it to children and families impacted by ongoing natural disasters in the Caribbean.