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Sunnyside sailor helps with Haiti relief efforts

Navy Petty Officer Third Class Lucas A. Kilian, son of Tammie Laverman of Sunnyside and Mark Kilian of Prosser, recently participated in Operation Unified Response as part of the Bataan Amphibious Relief Mission.

Operation Unified Response is a joint U.S. military effort designed to provide relief in response to the 7.0 earthquake that struck the Caribbean nation Jan. 12. The USS Bataan is based in Norfolk, Va.

The USS Bataan arrived in the Port-au-Prince area Jan. 19 and sailors began unloading supplies to shore, including beach clearing equipment, bulldozers and rubble removers. The sailors began their Sailors Ashore Mission in Grand Goave, Haiti shortly after the command's arrival.

Bataan sailors in Grand Goave donated more than $5,500 to charities assisting in Haiti, cleared 150 tons of rubble, built 65 shelters for 130 families, distributed 500,000 meals, provided triage for 850 patients and medically evacuated 55 Haitians in need of urgent medical care.

Bataan has experience in previous disasters and humanitarian relief missions. The amphibious vessel was the first U.S. Navy shop on scene in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, a category 4 hurricane.

Kilian is a 2004 graduate of Sunnyside Christian High School and joined the Navy in September 2004.

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