Resort rewarding military in Belize for humanitarian service
U.S. Soldiers with the 808th Engineer Company check to insure that a cinder block wall is level while working at a construction site for a new health clinic at Ladyville, Belize, April 13, 2017. One eco-resort in Belize is thanking military members for their humanitarian work by offering them deep discounts on accommodations and services. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Joshua E. Powell)
By Rindi White
U.S. troops in South America are definitely earning some R&R while working on “Beyond Horizon 2017.” One lodge in Belize is offering big discounts for service members stationed there as a thank-you for their work on humanitarian projects in their region.
The Lodge at Chaa Creek, an award-winning jungle lodge and eco-resort, is offering half-off all accommodations, plus 20 percent off meals and the complimentary use of canoes and other activities generally included in room rates, said owners Mick and Lucy Fleming.
“Many people don’t realize the amount of good works that are being done in Belize every day by members of various armed services; and now, with a new U.S. humanitarian exercise now underway since March 2017, we felt it was high time to recognize and reward these unsung heroes. It’s a small token of our appreciation, but we hope it makes their stay in Belize more comfortable and memorable,” said Lucy Fleming.
U.S. military personnel have been deployed to Belize and the Dominican Republic since March and will stay through the second week of June to conduct humanitarian civic assistance exercises. According to U.S. Southern Command, troops specializing in engineering, construction and health care are providing services to select communities while conducting valuable deployment training and building important relationships with partner nations.
The “Beyond the Horizon 2017” operation provides free medical and dental services while building medical and educational facilities in communities across Belize. The array of projects, valued at $10 million, are scheduled to be completed by mid-June.
Other nations are also in Belize to help, and the Flemings say their offer extends to all Belize-deployed troops. Dutch and British military personnel are engaged in military training with the Belize Defense Force, and British Commando Royal Marines are conducting jungle training in Belize’s vast rainforests.
“Chaa Creek has a nationwide network of colleagues and organizes tours throughout Belize, so we always have an ear to the ground as far as what’s happening, and after hearing about the good works being done in local communities, felt the need to do something to express our gratitude,” said Lucy Fleming.
According to the Flemings, Chaa Creek has a history of hosting military personnel in Belize. When the couple was working to turn their small family farm into Belize’s first eco-resort, the Flemings said they received invaluable help from British forces stationed in the country. The Flemings invited them to stay at what was then simple thatched cabins and plates of rice and beans, with chicken or local game meat. The soldiers brought English beer and whiskey, and the Flemings said a tradition was born.
“It’s something that we hope to see become an established part of their experience here. It fits in with the Belizean philosophy of ‘hand wash hand,’ ” Lucy Fleming said.
The Lodge at Chaa Creek is a multi-award winning eco resort set within a 400-acre private nature reserve along the banks of the Macal River in Belize. National Geographic recognized it with first place honors at the 2017 World Legacy Awards held in Berlin. For more information about the lodge, visit its website at https://www.chaacreek.com.