Mission of Love, based in Austintown, had a good representation from the Poland community on Friday, Nov. 30, as it prepared to send 60,000 pounds of humanitarian aid to suffering children in Guatemala. Several Poland residents made the trip to the Air Force Reserve base in Vienna to help with final preparations.
One of the Poland volunteers was Janet Marstellar, Poland Schools' transportation director. Marstellar said she had recently met Mission of Love founder-director Kathy Price, and an immediate friendship began.
"Kathy and I hit it off good from the start," she said. "I was already involved in missions at my church."
Photos By J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Kevin Massie, a member of the Air Force Reserve 910th Airlift Wing in Vienna, helps load one of 21 pallets of educational, medical and building materials that headed to Guatemala City on Saturday morning, Dec. 1.
She said through Rush Church in Canfield, she had made a mission trip to the Dominican Republic and was aware of the poverty many children have to grow up in. Her interest has turned to Mission of Love and she hopes to be more involved in the coming year.
"Someday I want to go to Guatemala with Mission of Love," she said. "I think it would be interesting to see where these supplies go."
One Poland resident who offered a lot of information to Marstellar was Tom Nelson, who has been on two trips with Price and her mission to help children. Nelson made a trip to Mexico and one to Guatemala where he helped begin Way-Bi, a children's hospice center built on a mountain top next to an ancient Mayan pyramid. He said he was touched by the Mayan children and how they view life.
"The kids are happy and possess an unconditional love," he said. "They don't know that they are poor."
Nelson didn't make this week's mission trip, but said he will be heading to Guatemala in February to help complete the Way-Bi House of Dreams.
He said in his recent trip earlier this year, he helped get the frame work for Way-Bi put up. During the construction, he received a laceration on his arm, which was hard to treat in the jungle. He simply poured hydrogen peroxide on it and wrapped it. He had a clinic available, which consisted of one small table of medical supplies.
"It was basically what Price has sent them," Nelson said.
Rounding out the Poland delegation was Fred Massie, a resident of Poland Village. Fred was happy to help out and actually enjoyed seeing what his son, Kevin Massie, does at the air base. Kevin is a member of the 910th Airlift Wing at the Air Force Reserve Base and was one of the key personnel who helped load the C5 cargo plane from Westover, Mass. Price said he is a big help to Mission of Love.
"Kevin is instrumental in making this happen," she said.
Friday's airlift was the third one this year for Mission of Love, which uses the Denton program to send aid to indigenous children around the world. The Denton program allows military cargo planes to use humanitarian missions as live training exercises. The Mission of Love has long passed its 50th mission under the program.