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Frisco man rescued from hotel rubble in Haiti

Dan Elliott
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
Summit Daily/Kristin Skvorc
ALL |

DENVER – A mission worker from Colorado has been rescued in Haiti after spending 55 hours trapped in the rubble of a collapsed hotel, his family said Friday.

Jim Gulley, 64, called his family in Frisco at 10:30 p.m. Thursday, just after he was rescued, to say he was all right.

His son Aaron, who took the call, said he feared his father was dead, but it appears he suffered only bruises from the ordeal.

“I said, ‘Dad? Is that you, Dad? Is that really you?'” Aaron Gulley said.

Jim Gulley is a United Methodist minister who had flown to Haiti on Monday for a meeting of representatives of the United Methodist Committee on Relief and other aid groups working there.

The United Methodist Church said Friday that all the members of the church group were rescued, but it was unclear whether any of the others were injured.

Aaron Gulley said his father was among five or six people pinned in a space about 3 feet high, 5 feet wide and 8 feet long.

They prayed and sang hymns, Aaron Gulley said.

Jim Gulley told ABC News one of the people trapped passed around chewing gum and a single lollypop.

Aaron Gulley said his father described it as the hardest thing he’d ever been through, but has said little more about the ordeal.

Gulley’s family had received no word on whether he was alive until he called home.

Aaron Gulley, who lives in Santa Fe, N.M., said he and his brother, who lives in Denver, went to their parents’ home in Frisco to be with their mother when they heard about the earthquake.

Frisco is in the mountains about 60 miles west of Denver.

“We immediately knew that he was probably in harm’s way because we knew he was in Port-au-Prince,” the son said.

He said friends had been calling all day Thursday to ask about his father.

“When the phone rang again at 10:30, I just thought it was another one of those calls. And there’s Dad on the other end,” he said.

“Aaron? What are you doing in Frisco?” Gulley recalled his father saying.

“Dad, we thought you were dead,” his son said.

“I’m not dead yet,” the father replied.

Jim Gulley was awaiting a flight back to Colorado and could arrive as early as Friday, his son said.

Two Colorado-based charities were still awaiting word on the fate of their workers and the people they care for in Haiti.

Joe Krabacher of the Mercy and Sharing Foundation in Aspen told the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel he fears some of the group’s 146 employees may have died. He said the group also doesn’t know what happened to 32 abandoned and disabled children the foundation cares for.

Compassion International, a child development agency in Colorado Springs, was trying to account for 64,000 Haitian children it cares for, along with two staffers from Colorado Springs.

The staffers’ names weren’t released. Spokesman Stephan Archer says the agency has confirmed that a handful its 80 workers in Haiti are safe, but it doesn’t know about others.


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