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A watershed moment for Jamaican on Comfort mission

Published:Friday | May 8, 2015 | 12:00 AMAnastasia Cunningham
Ricardo Foster, a Jamaican who is now a production controller with the US Navy, on board the USNS Comfort Hospital ship now docked at the Kingston Container Terminal.

Four days into its humanitarian mission to Jamaica, the United States Naval Ship (USNS), Comfort, has already provided medical aid to hundreds of Jamaicans and conducted approximately 25 surgeries on board the fully equipped, fully functional hospital ship.

Comfort's visit to Jamaica is part of 'Continuing Promise 2015' - a six-month humanitarian mission in the Caribbean region. Jamaica is the third port of call in this exercise.

While in Jamaica, the crew of more than 700 personnel will provide free medical, engineering and veterinary services at several hospitals, health centres and schools during the May 6-14 exercise. Thousands of Jamaicans are expected to benefit.

"This is a watershed moment for me, being a part of this and knowing this is something I have always wanted to do," stated Ricardo Foster, a Jamaican who is now a production controller with the US Navy.

"This is sweet, very sweet. I have been on board the Comfort four days. In fact, they flew me out from Florida to meet the ship, to come home and be a part of this humanitarian work. This is something that I have prayed to do all my life. Ever since I left, I have wanted to give back to my own country. Being on this mission gives me the opportunity."

He added: "It was only recently that I prayed about doing missionary work in Jamaica with the children, and here I am now being a part of this. This is really great, and the Comfort is doing really great work."

Born in St Andrew and raised in Portmore, St Catherine, Foster left Jamaica in 1983 and joined the US Navy 25 years ago. He still has numerous family members in Jamaica and hopes to have a family day with them while here.