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Humanitarian mission in Haiti after earthquake among most memorable deployments for east Idaho Air Force Reservist – Rexburg Standard Journal

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U.S. Air Force Reservist Cody De Los Reyes holds a Haitian child in his arms. De Los Reyes was deployed to Haiti the day after a 7.0 earthquake struck there in January 2010.
Cody De Los Reyes talks about plans for the East Idaho Vet Center in this 2019 photo.
Senior Master Sgt. Cody De Los Reyes

U.S. Air Force Reservist Cody De Los Reyes holds a Haitian child in his arms. De Los Reyes was deployed to Haiti the day after a 7.0 earthquake struck there in January 2010.
Cody De Los Reyes talks about plans for the East Idaho Vet Center in this 2019 photo.
Senior Master Sgt. Cody De Los Reyes
POCATELLO —  U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Cody De Los Reyes has spent time in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, Japan and Germany. 
Though one of his most memorable deployments was to Haiti after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck there in January 2010.
“That earthquake killed something like 250,000 people and I was there the day after it struck,” De Los Reyes said. “I was able to help with humanitarian aid, recovering bodies and helping the Haitians in trying to get a solid footing after their home was destroyed.”
The 2010 tremor in Haiti crippled the already poor and struggling island nation, severely damaging buildings and severing communications with the rest of the world. Hospitals, and penitentiaries were heavily damaged or destroyed, leading to treatment delays and looting as the crisis continued. De Los Reyes said assisting a Haitian orphanage was an eye-opening experience he’ll never forget.
“I just remember grabbing this young baby from his mother’s hands and loading him up onto the plane,” De Los Reyes said. “That kid probably never saw his mom again, but the saddest thing was they didn’t have any food or water or any way to take care of their own children.”
He continued, “It really makes you appreciate how good we have it in the United States. To know that you have to let your own child go in order for them to survive, that would be so hard.”
De Los Reyes has been in the Air Force Reserves for 19 years with several active duty deployments in between. His longest deployments were 6 months in Iraq and Afghanistan and another 6 months in Oman near the Yemen border. He was in Oman providing support to troops in Afghanistan when SEAL Team Six killed Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan.
After his last active duty deployment, De Los Reyes took his GI Bill to attend and graduate from Idaho State University. He is now the veteran outreach specialist for the East Idaho Vet Center. He also owns the Rooftop Bar in Lava Hot Springs, which offers a 10 percent discount to all veterans and more often than not a free first beer, De Los Reyes said.
As a veteran outreach specialist, De Los Reyes’ primary duty is to connect with combat veterans and assist them in finding the best services to help them during their transition to civilian life.
“My main job is suicide prevention and helping combat veterans get the counseling and help that they need,” De Los Reyes said. “What really helps is that I am a combat veteran myself and have been to Baghdad, Kabul and Bagram where these guys fought and went through the same struggles that I saw. I can relate to them a lot more than just a regular counselor.”
He continued, “I’ve met veterans just wandering the streets or camped out at a bar and was able to get them from being suicidal to being a normal, functioning member of society when they never thought they would even be able to go outside again.”
De Los Reyes encourages any local veteran, active duty, guard, reservist and the entire East Idaho community to attend an open house for the East Idaho Vet Center, located at 1000 River Walk Drive in Idaho Falls, at 11 a.m. on Nov. 10th. The USS Idaho submarine replica will be on display and tours of the new facility will be provided.
“Veterans Day has a different meaning for different people,” De Los Reyes said. “For me, it’s a day to reflect on the people in the past, present and future and what they sacrificed for us and our freedom.”

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