Modrica tractor project

Maj. Viktor Nikolla
Capt. Robert Ford
First published April 21, 2003

Day after day, Task Force Huskers Civil Affairs (CA) earns the trust and confidence of the Modrica returnees. This time, by facilitating the donation of a tractor by an American Non governmental organisation (NGO), they continue to fulfil their mission to support SFOR's efforts to foster economic self - sufficiency.

Modrica - Harry Cahill is a career State Department officer who first came to the American Embassy in Belgrade in 1965. In the 90's he came to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) as an elections supervisor for OSCE and as Refugee Affairs Co-ordinator at the US Embassy. In November 2002 he visited many returnees that were struggling to rebuild there lives.
Faithful friends of the Bosnian people
Determined to do something when he returned back to USA, Harry used his own savings and donations gathered in churches from Washington DC to plan an ambitious project: to provide a group of rural returnees with the tool they needed most to rebuild their community, a tractor.
Considering the difficulties of implementing his idea, Harry asked the Task Force Huskers CA Team at Camp McGovern if they could assist him. Moving fast because of the coming warm weather, CA met with the Modrica Bosnian-Croat returnee community and determined that the most trustworthy person to work with was Father Miroslav Karatovic, a B-Croat priest. Sgt. Joseph Balmos, member of the CA team explained: "The returnees here trust US SFOR soldiers and we work hard to gain and maintain that trust with local people in our area of operation."
Father Miroslav totally supported this project. He is now responsible for the care and the use of the tractor. He formerly worked in Sarajevo for NGO 'Caritas' that supported primarily B-Serbs and Bosniacs in need of humanitarian aid. Father Miroslav is often seen with Orthodox priests in Modrica as a sign of reconciliation.
Working with the Brcko Field Office of the Agricultural NGO 'Counterpart International' (CA) and after consulting with Harry Cahill, the CA team decided that a locally built tractor was the most appropriate for the needs of the returnees and would help the local economy. Another NGO, 'Mary Mother of Peace' - Medjugorje Charity of Bethesda, Maryland, facilitated the transfer of funds.
The selected company was 'GLIK', located in Brcko and owned by Mico Trivic, a former displaced person from Gradacac. Trivic, a B-Serb, was enthusiastic about this opportunity to participate in a project to help B-Croat returnees. "Thanks to SFOR, I can today do business with anybody in BiH with no fear to be threatened," he said.
The beginning of their future
On an unusually snowy April 8, a small convoy of SFOR vehicles followed by a truck carrying a shiny new red IMT 539 tractor arrived at the village of Dobrinja and was greeted by Father Miroslav and a happy crowd of B-Croat returnees.
"This tractor donation, focused on returnees, completes a cycle of support activities that US SFOR soldiers conducted this winter. This includes a mobile Internet Café project for Bosniac returnees in Maoca and a Medical Civic Action Program (MEDCAP) in Bukvik for B-Serb returnees," underlined Capt. Duffy O'Bun. Noting that this day was the International Roma day, Sgt. 1stclass Gary DuHamell said: "We have supported the Roma returnee communities of Modrica on several occasions, including winter clothing distributions and a specific MEDCAP for them."
Trivic presented Father Miroslav with the keys to the new tractor. Three members from the Finnish CIMIC team of Modrica were in attendance. "We often work together with US CA teams to support minority returnees," 1Lt. Matti Inkeroinen stated.
This tractor is a step toward these returnees building their future.

Related links:
Nations of SFOR: US
CIMIC

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Photos: Sgt. Cedric Artigues

A Finnish CIMIC soldier meets with Mico Trivic, owner of the GLIK company. Perhaps another opportunity for both to work together.


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Father Miroslav Karatovic wants to know in detail all the documents pertaining to this donation. (From l. to r.) Karatovic, Trivic and Sgt. Joe Balmos.


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The returnees are happy now. They got what they needed the most.


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A locally built tractor was the most appropriate tool for the needs of the returnees.