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First N.C. team returns from Haiti
Norman Jameson, BR Editor
January 25, 2010
6 MIN READ TIME

First N.C. team returns from Haiti

First N.C. team returns from Haiti
Norman Jameson, BR Editor
January 25, 2010

While immediate needs are overwhelming, and long-term

prospects daunting, the first team of N.C. Baptist Men volunteers returned Jan.

22 from Haiti certain they contributed to hope.

BR photo by Norman Jameson

N.C. Baptist Men team members — from left: Jack Frazier, Brooks Wadsworth, Jackie Tester and Jack Carroll — grab their gear off the carousel at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport Jan. 22 after facing tough conditions in Haiti.

Four members of the seven-person initial medical team

returned to the Raleigh airport still animated by adrenaline and knowing

exhaustion would hit them the next day.

Before they could gather their belongings in front of a

television camera, reporter and appreciative fellow passengers, someone stole

one of their bags off the carousel. It was clearly marked Rescue 24.

With chaos reigning in Haiti and no one in charge to

strategically assign rescue volunteers, the North Carolina team heard of a

specific need by word-of-mouth and landed in a regional hospital at the edge of

Port-au-Prince, and in the town with many injuries from a flour factory

explosion from the quake.

Tintayen was also the town that absorbed a line of trucks

dumping unidentified bodies into mass graves, and the thick, acrid odor of

death permeated the air.

“You do what you can, while you can,” said Jack Carroll, a

member of First Baptist Church, Hamlet. “We made a difference while we were

there.”

The discouraging reality is that after setting broken bones,

amputating mangled limbs and cleaning deep burns — often with only a single

aspirin as a pain killer — patients’ only aftercare was to cross the road and

lay down in the grass or dirt. There was no shelter to return to.

Even before the earthquake, Carroll said poverty is so

pervasive in Haiti that families “live under a bush, drink out of a gutter and

raise their children in the dirt.”

“Maybe they will look back and say there is love and care

and it was shown by these volunteers and it will make a difference when the

next missionary comes along,” Carroll said.

Haiti was the first large scale incident for professional

emergency medical technician Jackie Tester. After setting broken bones and

treating third-degree burns with no anesthetic she saw her patients hobble

across the street and lay down in the grass.

Everywhere people begged for help. After a 24-hour shift she

flopped beneath a tarp to rest and “heard wailing all over the city and there

was nothing we could do but pray,” she said.

BR photo by Norman Jameson

Jackie Tester

“I’d go back tomorrow if they call me,” said Tester, a

member of McLeansville Baptist Church. “You don’t want to leave these people.

We have no idea what kind of pain they suffer.”

The North Carolina crew saw patients with injuries suffered

days earlier but had gone untreated. One little boy with 80 percent of his body

deeply burned had no chance to survive, but Tester treated him with dignity,

covering him with one of her shirts. Other members said if the team had stayed

another few days, Tester would have given away everything she brought.

Team member Brooks Wadsworth, who directs a group that

serves widows and orphans called BLINC, for Building Lives in Christ, was the

organizational lynch pin for the team. “It was an amazing sight to see the

number of people who were sacrificing all they could for people they didn’t

even know,” he said.

Because he worked with the supply flow he is willing to talk

with groups who want to know immediate needs in Haiti and the best way to meet

them.

Carroll, who trained in emergency medical services

specifically so he could help in such circumstances, said these kinds of trips

always change him.

“When you get home and turn on the light, be thankful for

it,” he said. “If you have a table with four legs that stays flat and stable on

the floor, be thankful for it.”

N.C. Baptist Men are continuing to plan for long-term

response to Haitian needs. For the next few weeks only medical personnel are

required, and only money is being accepted for donations.

Donate through N.C. Baptist Men at 205 Convention Dr., Cary,

NC 27511. Mark it: Haiti relief.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — More stories and videos about work in

Haiti are available online at www.biblicalrecorder.org or www.youtube.com/biblicalrecorder.)

Disaster training opens opportunities to go

With the devastation in Haiti many people have expressed the

desire to help. One way to assist people in disaster areas is to be properly

trained.

The North Carolina Baptist Men (NCBM) is offering 24

different classes this year. There are four (4) training categories:

basic, crosstrainer, recertification and advanced (more detailed description is

available at www.baptistsonmission.org). The cost varies depending on the

category of training.

Baptist Men intentionally leaves out exact locations in

order to demonstrate that disaster response requires patience, and

flexibility.

  • Region 2 — March 5-6 in Carteret County
  • Region 4 — March 19-20 in Harnett County
  • Region 6 — April 16-17; location TBD
  • Region 8 — May 7-8 in Lincoln County (tentative)
  • Region 10 — May 21-22 in Jackson County (tentative).

Call (800) 395-5102, ext. 5599.

Related stories

First N.C. team returns

Editorial: How do we best help Haiti recover?

First-person post from Haiti: ‘Unbelievable’

Spoke’n: Finding the first question

Haiti video available

Raleigh pastor clings to news, phone, hope

Haiti conditions bad, but relief pipeline opening

Haiti response may require $2 million

Quake shakes ground but not Haitians’ faith

Major aftershock hits Haiti

Haitian church ‘holds on’ after loss of 4 leaders

Second NC team into Haiti

Baptists confront Haiti challenge

Missionaries heartbroken over tragedy

Baptist pastor confirmed among dead in Haiti

Seven trying to get to Haiti

Florida convention staff missing

Haiti teams focus on urgent & long-term needs

Baptist worker in Haiti reported safe

N.C. Baptists gathering response effort for Haiti

Spoke’n (Editor’s Journal): Haitians were 1779 allies

Spoke’n: Finding the first question

The Way I Hear It (blog): How to Handle Haiti

Answering the Call (blog): No ‘Flash in the Pan’ Needed

Guest column: Hope for Haiti

Raleigh video

IMB video