“I would never forget December 17, 2011, at about 9:00 P.M… I was asleep when I felt my bed’s foam compress around me. Next thing I knew, floodwater was everywhere. That’s when I woke up my mom, trying my best not to stir any panic. We remained calm, gathering all the things we could still salvage, and in the morning, we went to our school at Carmen National High Schoool in Cagayan de Oro and I saw a devastating scene left by Typhoon Sendong in the establishments, including farmlands, and houses. Families were helpless,” Lt. Kenn Brian Adesas recalled.

Lt. Adesas happily observes the kids while having good times

Tropical Storm Sendong (International name Washi) left a vast damage in Cagayan de Oro (CDO) and most parts of Mindanao during its late-season devastation in December 2011. The continuous heavy rainfall was so severe that it caused the CDO river basin to overflow. Although unofficial, available data showed that nearly 40,000 homes were damaged of which 11,463 were destroyed. Sendong affected an estimate of 700,000 people in its wake including Lt. Adesas’.

It was through Operation Blessing Foundation Philippines’ disaster response in Cagayan de Oro that Lt. Adesas felt the burden to help his kababayans through volunteering. “I had a wonderful memory as an OB volunteer. We assisted in packing relief goods, clothes; feeding the affected families, and doing other services we could offer,” he said.

Lt. Adesas’ ultimate dream was to become a soldier. That time in 2010, he was an educator to high school students, and when the opportunity came knocking, he took the examination and passed as an officer in the Philippine Army.

Lt. Adesas with AFP troops in Bohol

“I went to a lot of trials and hardships before reaching this position. As Christ’s follower, I knew I must prepare myself to survive persecutions or insults. Good thing, I have met some military officers who are Christians as well. They allowed me and other aspiring soldiers to attend Sunday service where I volunteer as the church’s pianist,” he gladly uttered.

Lt. Adesas’s troop was recently assigned to assist in Operation Blessing’s Medical Mission in Bohol last January 21, 2020. “It was once again a blessing to serve with Operation Blessing’s Medical Mission here in Bohol. I believe it was God’s providence to be reunited with the people whom I admire in terms of helping our kababayans. The Armed Forces of the Philippines will always be here to support, provide protection, and other activities to let the people know that we care. Beneath these ‘uniforms’ are compassionate human beings,” he enthusiastically said.

“I hope that the wonderful deeds of Operation Blessing will continue its mission in transforming lives,” he ended.

In 2002 and 2003, the Armed Forces of the Philippines awarded Operation Blessing as NGO of the Year for Peace Efforts, while the Philippine Army chose operation Blessing as NGO of the Year in the year 2006 and 2007.

Just like Lt. Adesas, you can lend a helping hand in any way you can. Be an OB Volunteer NOW!

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