Local June 10, 2016 | 9:01 am

US, Dominican Rep. strengthen partnerships while building hospitals

Copeyito, Dominican Republic.- Military civil engineers andmedical professionals use this opportunity to train on planning, preparing,deploying and performing their jobs outside of the U.S.

“Planning for this year’s exercise started about a yearago,” said Col. Daymen Tiffany, the 506th Air Expeditionary Group commander.“We conducted planning with the Dominican government to ensure we had thelocations, the sites prepared and an agreement with them on what we would dowhile here.”

Through this joint training exercise, civil engineers fromthe 820th Rapid Engineers Deployable Heavy Operations Repair Squadron Engineerssquadron, more commonly called Red Horse, from Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada,will work side-by-side with their Dominican partners to build four clinics anda vocational school in the Maria Trinidad Sanchez province.

“They’ve been able to teach us some of their ways and localprocedures, and we’ve been able to show them how we normally do things in thestates,” said Capt. Joseph Miller, 820th Red Horse, quality control officer incharge. “In the end we’ll get a good product that’s a mix of both methods thatwill be sustainable in the future for this community.”

Once U.S. Southern Command picked the Dominican Republic tohost New Horizons, the Dominican government provided a prioritized list ofproposed medical and constructions projects they wanted to make part of the NewHorizons Exercise. This list was aligned with the training objectives for theU.S. civil engineers and medical professionals as well as meeting the needs ofthe Dominican Republic.

One of the chosen locations for a new hospital is thecommunity of Copeyito, which has 77 houses, and each house has up to sevenoccupants.

“There’s a need for a clinic in this area because it’s outin a relatively rural area,” said Miller. “This will provide a medical facilitymuch closer than they currently have.”

The hospital here in Copeyito will have five patient roomsand two doctor’s quarters.

“We’re very grateful for the support you’ve given us,” saidJuanito Martinez, a 50-year resident of Copeyito who lives in a house next doorto the construction site. “We’re now able to have medical care close by us.”

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