Radio host, teacher, and mountain skiing guide Simon Bernard (multi-talented!) tells us his story and his experience with OGAfor AID.
Immediately after the earthquake & tsunami, Misawa Air base became a jump off point for rescue & relief operations in an official capacity of Operation Tomodachi. Privately as well, base personnel started organizing donated goods and sent out private vehicles to various locations where help was needed.
At this time we became aware of the desperate need of the town of MinamiSanriku. We asked the commander if we could send all 29 pallets of water that were sitting on the flight line to Minami Sanriku and got an OK. The Navy Master Chief in Misawa also gave us a contact in Atsugi Base for more water as well.
After time passed and many towns nearby Misawa started to recover it became obvious that Minami Sanriku was going to be a long turn project. The men & women on Misawa Base privately took it into their own hands to continue to support the efforts there. Between baked goods sales, collecting monetary donations and even holding on-line auctions of donated goods (the latter caught the eye of NHK TV which came to do a special news feature on this) they were able to send all the school supplies OGA needed, conduct a mini-American Day cultural event for the children & families and also provide much of the food, presents and goodies for the last two “Christmas To Remember” parties.
Misawa City, Aomori