Having spent over a month on the United States Navy Ship Comfort sailing along the coast of Latin America ito provide health care to populations in need, HOPE volunteers Marley Gevanthor from Novato, California, and Tracey Kunkel from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, didn't think twice when asked if they wanted to meet First Lady Michelle Obama, even if it meant a little more time living at sea.

The volunteers were just two of nearly 100 Project HOPE volunteers who worked alongside their military counterparts to provide health care and health education to communities in Antigua, Colombia, The Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Panama as part of the Continuing Promise 2009. Along with volunteers Project HOPE also donated medical equipment, medicines and supplies to the ministries of health and medical facilities of the countries they visited. The entire mission benefited more than 100,000 people in need of health care and provided health education for nearly 40,000.

On July 31 the First Lady greeted the crews from the USNS Comfort and USS Eisenhower as they returned to Norfolk, Virginia, from their respective missions saying “We are standing here among heroes—military, civilian, American and foreign."

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