Coast Guard Comes To Aid Of Panamanian Hospital

PANAMA – Crewmembers from the Coast Guard cutter Hamilton took some time out from a recent port call to help a community March 4, 2008.

Six crewmembers from the 378-foot San Diego-based cutter assisted with landscaping and painting projects at the Hospital Nacional Larga Estancia in Vera Cruz, Panama.

“When I told the director of the hospital that only a small group showed up to help she didn’t get disappointed,” said Walleska Wagner, People to People Coordinator for the United States Embassy in Panama. “She couldn’t stop thanking me for bringing the crew to her hospital. This goes to show that every little bit helps,” she said.

The hospital was originally built by the United States and was designed as a place to care for lepers. The hospital still has a few residents with leprosy, but also serves as a nursing home for people with other disabilities.

The volunteers painted railings and raked the courtyard of the hospital before moving on to the task of felling a tree the hospital needed removed. After finishing, the crew was invited to lunch in the hospital cafeteria. Some volunteers also met and spoke with hospital residents.

The crew of the Hamilton left San Diego to patrol the East Pacific Jan. 29, 2008. Their port call in Panama came only a few days after their recovery of $55 million worth of cocaine from the waters south of Costa Rica Feb. 29, 2008.

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