Grassroots efforts, contributions from ORAU staff help build house for family in Haiti
When Chad Becker mentioned he was trying to get the funds together to go back to Haiti to build another home for a family devastated by the earthquake of 2010, it made a few of his ORAU coworkers stop and think.
“I’m sure people here would pay for a good spaghetti lunch,” said Frances Slater and Julie Humidan. “I could also make and sell some jewelry,” said Humidan. “And, I could help Chad sell his grandmother’s collection of beanie babies dolls that she gave him to help Haiti in some way,” said Deborah Wells.
Slater, Humidan, and Wells—all ORAU custodians—knew their coworkers at ORAU (Oak Ridge Associated Universities) would pitch in once they heard about the need. Becker, ORAU’s director of facilities and transportation, had been involved in recent years with Medic Samaritan to help provide aid to the Haitian people following the earthquake. He and his family even adopted a now 10-year-old girl from Haiti in 2012.
For as little as $6,000, Becker could work with local Haitian laborers and buy all the materials needed right there in Haiti to rebuild a home for Molian and Madame Molian Romulus. By hosting the fundraiser lunch, selling jewelry and beanie babies, and collecting individual contributions made by numerous ORAU employees, nearly $4,000 was raised that went directly to the home-building project.
“I am humbled by my coworkers’ graciousness and spirit of generosity,” Becker said. “I have received such a blessing by helping these families in Haiti rebuild their lives, and I have been so excited to see how even in the smallest of ways my friends here at ORAU can work and contribute to help change someone’s life.”
Becker recently returned from Haiti, where these employees’ contributions made a big difference. Purchasing the building materials there helped stimulate the local economy; putting local people to work on the project helped Haitians earn money to support their families; and the Romulus family was provided with a roof over their heads and a little more hope than they had before. The locals even received some handmade jewelry from Humidan, which they wore proudly to their community worship services.
Thrilled with their new home, the Romulus family had a message in Haitian Creole for their friends at ORAU: Mèsi Anpil… “Thank You very much,” which they even painted on the side of their home to always remember the generosity of those who contributed. Already thinking about another trip to Haiti, another house to build, and even more ways to raise the money needed to help, Becker and his coworkers know a little really can change a lot.
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