Op KOBOLD – A small contingent that makes a difference
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Op KOBOLD – A small contingent that makes a difference

Canadians can be proud of the positive influence that this small contingent has afforded to the citizens of this region.

OP KOBOLD is Canada’s contribution to the NATO mission in Kosovo, and with rotation 20 quickly coming to a close, Canadians can be proud of the positive influence that this small contingent has afforded to the citizens of this region. In addition to our primary obligations of maintaining a safe and secure environment, as well as freedom of movement, this particular group has completed numerous civilian/military cooperation projects. These initiatives, predicated on empathy and compassion, have made a significant and lasting improvement.

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Our first project was in support of a medical facility dedicated to helping those suffering from emotional and mental health issues. This was a challenging environment at best and for many of the clients, this facility represented the only viable means to get the support they desperately needed. Resources were often scarce but as a testament to the dedication of the support staff, all records and administration was conducted by hand as information technology resources were a luxury beyond the organization’s financial means. As a result our contingent procured a full workstation, consisting of a laptop computer, multifunctional printer/scanner. Major Lavigne and Sergeant Guillemette, the OP KOBOLD J6 and Chief Clerk respectively, were our representatives and delivered the equipment. Discussions with the facility’s administrator revealed that this would reduce his administrative burden by at least ten hours weekly.

On 20 August, Lieutenant-Colonel John Haylock presented on behalf of the Canadian Contingent through Boomers Fund, 12 fire extinguishers to the Women’s Wellness Center in Pec/Peje Municipality.  The center provides shelter for women victims and women with children from family violence across Kosovo.  The center is responsible for this service in 4 municipalities and covers over 300,000 residents of both Albanian and Serbian ethnicities.  During the presentation, Lieutenant-Colonel Haylock was also accompanied by the KFOR Fire Chief and a fire safety inspection of the facility was carried out, with additional signage being posted, inspection of fire alarms and smoke detectors were conducted.  The most remarkable part of the presentation was the opportunity for residents and staff of the facility to be trained on the usage of the fire extinguishers.  None of them had actually trained or used a fire extinguisher in the past, and KFOR Fire chief provided one on one training using KFOR extinguishers. There was a lot of excitement as the resident women and the children that were there had a chance to actually use the equipment.

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On 3 October, Major Jean-Raphaël Fleury and Lieutenant-Colonel Caroline Chartier donated a defibrillator, pressure measuring devices and blood sugar measuring devices to the Health Center of Osojane. This health center is located in a Serb enclave, North West of Kosovo, in the municipality of Istok, district of Peć. The health center provides medical services to 800-1000 residents in great needs. It has one general practice physician supported by a few nurses. They are treating an aging population, who suffers from high blood pressure, a consequence of a stressful life. There are also diabetics, kidney patients, primarily due to the impure water and the unresolved problem of a water. Despite the difficult conditions and scarce resources, they are very generous and kind people. With his Engineering eye, Major Fleury saw future opportunities for CIMIC projects, helping them repairing their relic ambulances, and Lieutenant-Colonel Chartier saw future possibilities in helping with additional medical supplies. The smile on their faces and their extreme gratefulness was priceless. 
 
I am truly delighted with what OP KOBOLD 20 has accomplished, both in terms of our commitment to NATO and through our donations to local community activities. It has truly been an honour to work this contingent, these people are my colleagues, my friends and for the last 190 days, my family. We can depart from this mission knowing that we all made a real and positive difference here.

From Major Taylor Lavigne
 
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