December 9, 2010

Making friends in far off places

By Michael Johnson, Editor

Your mental picture of the Democratic Republic of Congo may contain images of a society that is ripe with war and disease. The US often takes part in working to bring about change in that region and one local Washburnite, Major Curt Kroh, had an important role in improving relations. Kroh, a physician assistant at the VA hospital in Bismarck, is also a member of the North Dakota National Guard’s 814th Army Support Medical Company. His latest travel with the company was to the Democratic Republic of Congo in Kinshasa. While there he worked to make sure they could provide help to the Congolese people through a free clinic and free training for the soldiers at an event called Med Flag ‘10. One major contact he had with the Congolese was Colonel Bodika Jeremie. He spoke fondly of the man and he remembers talking to him about what supplies to bring. Even when Kroh knew a request could not be met, Bodika told him to do the best he could. The objective for Kroh was to put out any fires that could have disrupted while the US medical company worked to prepare the Congolese medical team for emergency preparedness training and basic EMT training. While the company spent about two weeks in Kinshasa, Kroh spent months finalizing how the event would pan out if everything went as planned or if something went wrong. Luckily things went very smoothly.

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