Proper Job Dutch Air Force in Siauliai by xiuliliaofz


									A Proper Job: Dutch Air Force in Siauliai

”If we do the job, we do it properly”, says sergeant Lourens Hengst and Martin Ansems,
F16 mechanics from the Dutch Air Force Detachment in Siaulia, Lithuania.
The Dutch Air Force is based in Lithuania because of the NATO Air Policing assignment.
The Detachment consists of four F16‟s and 45 Air Force personnel. They are here to
watch over the Baltic sky from April 1st until July 1st, after which date the Germans take

Speaking about a proper job, Sergeant Hengst not only means the permanent Quick
Reaction Alert-(QRA)- state of the Dutch Detachment. He is also referring to the charity
work he and his colleagues are doing in a children‟s home in Kuršėnai , a small town
some 20 kilometers north-west of Siauliai.

It all started with a small remark of the Dutch Defense Attaché during the inauguration
reception at the Airbase in Siauliai. “If you don‟t know what to do with the leftover
Lithuanian coins when your shift is over”, he said, “why not donate that money to the
Kurŝĕnų Vaikų Globos Namai”. That remark fell on fertile soil.
Within a few days, a delegation of the detachment arranged a meeting with the children‟s
home director, Mr. Feliks Rudzinskas. They learned that the Kuršėnai children„s house is
home to 96 children from 3 to 18 years old. Some of the 96 children are orphans but
most of them are from disrupted families; with parents who are, for whatever reason,
not able to look after them.

What the soldiers saw and heard in Kuršėnai touched their harts. They visited the eight
„family units‟ in the home and spoke on length to the managing team and to the children.
They saw the living conditions and decided that donating leftover coins was not enough.
The Dutch had more to offer.

The men focused on two things: to alight the lives of those unfortunate children and to
make some improvements on the building itself.
The first, the fun time, was quickly organised. On Saturday April 23 rd, a group of soldiers
spent their free time in Kuršėnai. They baked hundreds of pancakes, played basketball,
and lightened bonfires.
On Saturday April 30th, the traditional Dutch celebration of the Queen‟s birthday, a group
of children is invited to the air base. They‟ll see the F16‟s, take part in a football
competition and the cook will do his utmost to create a feast meal. And they‟re preparing
more fun outings for the near future.

The second focus, the building improvement, took more planning. They decided to
renovate a sanitary unit. The unit dated from 1939 and indeed looked like it could use a
„make over‟.
In accordance with the management, sergeants Lourens and Martin and local people
stripped the whole unit and redid everything. And by everything, the Dutch mean
everything! A proper job: a new sewage system, a new floor, water pipes, electrical
system, etc. Dutch companies contacted by the soldiers agreed to send -for free-
separation walls, toilets, showers and taps. And the Dutch soldiers are dedicated
workers: many free hours are spent in Kuršėnai. „Hands on‟, with limited funds but with
unlimited enthusiasm and social involvement.

After the completion of the sanitary unit, the men are more than willing to give their
„hands on‟ to any other job that needs to be done properly. Speaking of Quick Reaction

The Dutch Air Force is based at Airbase Zokniai, Lithuania on NATO Air Policing
assignment. The Detachment consists of four F16‟s and 45 Air Force personal.
The Dutch Air Force is here to watch over the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian sky from
April 1st until July 1 2005. The Dutch took over from the Norwegians and will be followed
up by the Germans.

The children‟s home Kuršėnų Vaikų Globos Namai is situated in Kuršėnai, a small village
in the North of Lithuania, some 25 km from Siauliai.
Kuršėnų Vaikų Globos Namai is home to some 90 to 100, most local, children, in the age
of 3 to 18. The children‟s home is situated just outside the village, sort of tucked away in
the forest. The building(s) dates from 1939 and it is always used as a children‟s home.

The director, Mr. Feliks Rudzinskas, and his staff implemented modern views on upraising
and education. They formed eight „family units‟. The family units consist of some 10
children of all ages. The children are either real family or they are unrelated children
grouped into a family.
With the assistance of the daily staff, the children of the family unit learn to care about
one other and many other „normal family life‟ responsibilities. All this to facilitate the
entree in Lithuanian society when they have to leave the home at the age of 18.

Although the children‟s home gets a fair amount of money from Siauliai province, the
upbringing of the children in a healthy and cozy environment takes more money than
they receive.
At the moment there is also contact with a big Dutch charity organization to improve the
living standards in the near future.

Kuršėnų Vaikų Globos Namai
Pramonės g. 2
LT-5400  + 370 841-508300
Directeur: Feliks Rudzinskas

CDR. B.J. Gerrits
Defensie Attaché Litouwen
Kon. Ned. Ambassade
Business Center 2000, Jogailos 4
LT-01116 Vilnius
 +370 5 2690072 ext 210

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