Missouri National Guard heads to Dominican Republic for humanitarian help

By Crystal Britt
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - They're on a mission to make life better for families thousands of miles away. The Missouri National Guard's 1140th Engineer Battalion, based in Cape Girardeau, is headed this weekend for the Dominican Republic.
In total it's a month long mission. It's two, two week rotations with about 25 southeast Missouri soldiers going over each time. It's something they're all really looking forward to.
On Friday afternoon the soldiers with the 1140th got the final briefing for their upcoming mission. Their bags are packed, and the last minute details are finalized.
"It's a real humanitarian type mission for us," said Lt. Colonel William Blaylock. 
They're headed to the South Central and the South Eastern part of the Dominican Republic. Those are areas heavily damaged by recent flooding and severe weather.
"It's very rewarding to go in and you see people that are more devastated, not nearly advantaged as we are and we can help them out while at the same time provide us the training we need to prepare for our missions," said Blaylock. 
About 18 projects are planned.
"Everything from road construction, some drainage missions, medical clinics, rehabbing schools, and building a sports complex," said Blaylock.
Staff Sergeant Phillip Patterson of Scott City and Sergeant Brock Weimer of Cape Girardeau will be going along.  It's Patterson's final mission, and Weimer's first overseas.
"I've been to Panama five times, Honduras twice, this is my 30th year and I'm getting out of the guard April 6th I retire," said Patterson. 
Patteron is a local paramedic.  
"We're going to be providing medical support for the engineers," said Patterson. 
Weimer will help in the supply yard.
"We're going to a place where we can take a little of our luxury and hopefully give to the people down there," said Weimer.  
"This is a good mission," said Lt. Colnel Blaylock. "This is a mission we do look forward to."
They'll be improving the quality of life for the Dominicans, while getting the soldiers ready for future operations.  
"You get to see a part of the world you don't normally get to see and you get to help people at the same time," said Blaylock. 
"Overall hope for the mission is we get down there and make a difference for the people we're going down to help," said Weimer.
The soldiers will spend Saturday with their families before leaving bright and early Sunday morning.