Skip to comments.Vietnam Vet Lands with Toys, Money for Basrah Children’s Hospital
Posted on 03/20/2009 6:12:16 PM PDT by SandRat
BASRAH — A private pilot in his Cessna 182 landed at Basrah International Airport with a $10,000 check and nine boxes of toys for the Basrah Children’s Hospital, March 18.
Robert Gannon, a Vietnam veteran who served on a medical evacuation helicopter, has visited 110 countries on humanitarian missions over the past eight years. He says that flying into Iraq and seeing the efforts being made to rebuild the country “is definitely one of the highlights of my life.”
Dr. Muaead, representing the Basrah Health Directorate, accepted the $10,000 check and said he and his staff sincerely appreciate Gannon’s interest in helping the Iraqi people. “We recognize all those working on the Basrah Children’s Hospital project which is scheduled to open later this year.”
Gannon noted it was the Associated General Contractors of Iowa that provided the funding. “Americans are caring people, and this group definitely wanted to reach out and help,” he said. He also recognized Project Hope for its efforts in making the visit possible.
Also greeting Gannon at the airport was Lt. Col. Humberto Ramirez with the Gulf Region Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).
“This is another example of how partnering efforts are making a big difference in building Iraq’s future,” Ramirez said. “The $165 million hospital will soon be a reality because a number of different groups are working together to make it happen. It’s not just U.S. resources being invested here – the United Nations Development Fund is participating through a $22 million grant from the Government of Spain, there is more than $9.8 million in funding from the Iraqi Ministry of Health, and Project Hope is providing more than $30 million for medical equipment and medical staff training.”
USACE is overseeing the hospital’s construction and the hundreds of Iraqis working there. Once open, the hospital will employ in excess of 1,000 professionals and supporting staff at full operation. It will be a pediatric referral center for all of Iraq with a focus on childhood cancers.
Following the news conference at the airport, Gannon traveled to the hospital and toured the ongoing construction at the facility. “I was extremely impressed with the workmanship and quality,” he said. “I used to own a construction company. I know the business. That hospital could have been anywhere in the western world. The Iraqi engineers and various crews are all working hard, wanting to do their best. More Americans need to know what’s happening here.”
“I have a special soft spot in my heart for children,” Gannon, who resides in San Diego, said. “I’m glad we were able to do some good today as all involved here move a step closer to offering Iraqi youngsters with serious health problems hope for a brighter tomorrow.”
(By Norris Jones, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)
Great story. Thanks.
Oh, that is so wonderful, thank you.