Haitian community praises CJTF-Haiti

18 Jun 2004 | Cpl. Mike J. Escobar

Haitian government leaders showed their appreciation for Combined Joint Task Force-Haiti’s commander at the Hotel Montana here during a formal dinner ceremony June 18.
Prime Minister Gerard Latortue presented Marine Brig. Gen. Ronald S. Coleman a souvenir wooden ship and a plaque on behalf of the people of Haiti and their leaders.
“Order and stability have been restored in Haiti, ” Latortue stated.  “God bless you and CJTF-Haiti for the job you did here.”
Prominent community figures also attended the event to express their gratitude, and praised the general for his efforts in helping bring about stability and security to the people of Haiti.
“The people of Cite Soleil wish to express their gratitude to Gen. Coleman,” said Josette Bijoux, Haiti’s public health minister.  “We thank you for the projects CJTF-Haiti conducted in a community where so many needy people live.”
Religious leaders were also in attendance at the ceremony to thank Coleman and CJTF-Haiti.
“The sisters of Don Bosco will never forget the contribution of the Marines following the events after the fall of Aristide,” said Sister Marie Adley Clerge, provincial of the daughters of Mary.  “We will always remember how you helped us transport one of our nuns, who was injured in a car accident May 1, to a hospital in Port-au-Prince.”
Coleman spoke at the conclusion of the speeches, and said he felt “greatly honored and humbled” to be there.
“I can’t thank you enough for the way you’ve opened up your country and your hearts to our forces,” the commander stated, addressing the guests.  “This has been the highlight of my 30-year career in the Marine Corps.  I couldn’t have asked for a better experience than to be in Haiti.”
The general’s concluding words elicited a round of applause from the distinguished guests.
“This has been a truly remarkable experience,” Coleman said.  “I hope that one day all of (CJTF-Haiti troops), not in uniform, will return to Haiti.  I feel as though I am Haitian.”