2 US soldiers help repair boats

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

TWO United States Army soldiers based in Pyeongtaek City, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea have helped repair the boats of fisherme

n in Barangay Ocoy, Sta. Fe in the Island of Bantayan.

Eddie Leazar, 32, his wife Arely, 34, and Michael Herman, 31, visited Bantayan Island for a vacation.


Leazar is a friend of Allan Monreal, president of Bantayan Island Association of Hotels, Resorts, Bars and Restaurants, who organized a project called “Back to Sea.”

Monreal and Leazar have been friends since 2005 and served as personal security details in Baghdad, Iraq under a US State Department contract.

Few years after not seeing each other, Leazar decided to visit Cebu to see Monreal and to have a vacation.

Instead of just relaxing and the enjoying the beach, the three foreigners helped Venus Desabelle, 41, a fisherman, fix his bancas.

Desabelle has four bancas, all of which were damaged by typhoon Yolanda last Nov. 8.

Herman, Leazar and his wife donated money to the Back to Sea project so that Desabelle will have money for the materials needed to repair his boats.

The project helps fishermen who lost their boats to typhoons.

The foreign volunteers went to Desabelle’s house and repaired the boat themselves.

The US armies cut the plywoods while Arely attached them to the base of the banca.

They started the repair last Monday and finished working on one banca yesterday. The foreign volunteers will leave today.

In an interview, Arely said they learned how to repair boats after Desabelle gave them instructions.

“I think I can build my own boat,” Arely said.

Leazar said it was a nice thing to do for their visit to the Philippines.

“This is the best vacation I ever had,” Leazar said.

He said helping the fishermen to repair their boats gave them a closer tie to the country, especially in Bantayan.

In a separate interview, Desabelle said the work of the three were fine.

He was thankful that two of his bancas were repaired, which he can now use for fishing.

He said he still needs materials for his other bancas.

Leazar and Arely have been married for six years. They live in Pyeontaek. They don’t have children yet.

Arely said Bantayan reminds her of her hometown in El Salvador, where there are also
poor communities.

“When we go back (to Korea) we would like to tell to help,” Arely said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 12, 2014.

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