Story Number: NNS090428-17Release Date: 4/28/2009 5:08:00 PM
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By Spec. Nashaunda Tilghman
CITE SOLIEI, Haiti (NNS) -- A dentist from a small town in North Carolina was selected to volunteer with the crew of hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) in support of Continuing Promise 2009 (CP09).
Suzette Marie Stines, a Haitian-American, has donated her voluntary service to her native country 30 times over a seven year span.
"I feel profoundly grateful that I was invited to work on this mission." says Stines. "Someone knew that I volunteer here and I got an email from someone with the invitation to help out."
Continuing Promise 2009 combines U.S. military and interagency personnel, non-governmental organizations, academics and partner nations to provide medical, dental, veterinary, and engineering services afloat and ashore alongside host nation personnel.
Stines' volunteer work began as a small undertaking while visiting family in the area.
"I would come to see my family and look for any opportunity to help in the community," she said.
Eventually the casual pastime became a personal calling. Stines said she has frequently returned to Haiti many times because she sees the need of the people and their lack of access to what so many take for granted.
"I want to give my people hope, and remind them that people do care about them and what happens to them," said Stines.
"For many of the people, being seen here is their only chance to be treated for medical care. They are not going to have another chance," she added.
Comfort is on a four month humanitarian and civic assistance deployment to the Caribbean and Latin America.
For more news from USNS Comfort (T-AH 20), visit www.navy.mil/local/tah20/.