Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

November 20, 2011 at 3:36am

McChord Airmen volunteer to aid heart ward

Airman 1st Class Juliana Guzman (left) and Staff Sgt. Michelle Fedrick pose for a photo with gifts from a Kyrgyz boy at the Children's Heart Ward of the Kyrgyz Scientific Research Institute of Heart Surgery and Organ Transplantation in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

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TRANSIT CENTER AT MANAS, Kyrgyzstan - Airmen deployed from Joint Base Lewis-McChord and other locations to the Transit Center at Manas visited the Children's Heart Ward of the Kyrgyz Scientific Research Institute of Heart Surgery and Organ Transplantation Nov. 11.

The Airmen are all members of the Manas Area Benefit Outreach Society, a private organization that provides charitable donations, goods and services to people and organizations in areas surrounding the Transit Center.

It has been about five months since MABOS members last visited the facility. During this visit the new focus group leaders met with the director and professor of surgery to discuss future MABOS assistance.

"I think there is a lot of good we can do here," said Staff Sgt. Jena Taylor, 817th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron combat crew communications specialist, based out of McChord Field.

The facility currently has about 40 patients awaiting surgery and about another 80 on the waiting list. The hospital is staffed to perform five or six surgeries a day, but limitations only allow them to conduct two a day.

"It is hard for the families because they have to wait here in line for months just because we can't (perform surgeries) fast enough," said Dr. Talgat Abdullaevich, director and professor of surgery in the Institute of Cardiac Surgery and Organ Transplantation.

Taylor became a MABOS heart ward FGL so she could positively impact others during her time at the Transit Center.

"We took a lot of notes and the professor is sending us a list of their biggest needs," Taylor said. "If I can get some of that list completed before I redploy I would be completely happy."

While the FGLs met with the professor, other MABOS members delivered coloring books, crayons and other toys to children in the heart ward.

"It was great seeing the kids laughing," said Staff Sgt. Michelle Fedrick, 817th EAS aviation resource manager also from McChord Field. "I got involved with MABOS to help others. I'm getting my degree in child and family development, since I'm very passionate about children."

Taylor encourages other members of the Transit Center to join MABOS.

"You can help change somebody's life," she said. "The more people who get involved, the more we can do." The group left with plans to assist the facility with the delivery of donated supplies and to purchase needed equipment.

"It is truly an honor to help," said Master Sgt. Joseph Cuthbertson, 376th Expeditionary Mission Support Group first sergeant deployed from Beale Air Force Base, Calif.

"We will gladly take anything offered to us," Abdullaevich said. "I'm very thankful."

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