Glenwood nurse to help with relief efforts for Haitians
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Lynn Roe has come to know the day-to-day struggles of the Haitian people through her mission work in recent years – pains that were only compounded in the aftermath of last week’s devastating earthquake.
A nurse for 33 years, including the past 23 at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs, Roe had already planned a routine trip to the island country before the earthquake hit.
Now, the supplies she will bring and the basic health care services she will help provide through Manna Global Ministries in the neighboring country of the Dominican Republic are even more needed.
Roe, working through her church, the Rifle Church of Christ, will make her fifth mission trip in two years to Haiti this weekend and will be there for two weeks helping with relief efforts.
“It was just devastating,” Roe said of receiving news of the 7-magnitude earthquake on Jan. 12 that leveled the city of Port-au-Prince.
“This is a country that was already the poorest country in the western hemisphere, where the average lifespan is just 56 years, and where there was a significant population of people with AIDS and TB,” she said.
“Even before this happened, the children would go around barefoot because they don’t have shoes. So, we take medicine to help them get rid of worms,” she said.
Roe, who lives outside Rifle with her husband, Timothy, had done similar mission work in other Central and South American countries before she started going to Haiti. Her minister, Milton Eckhart and his wife, Holly, had been doing mission work there for about five years, she said.
Most of their work is in Cap Haitian, located in the northern part of the country.
“He’s also a doctor, and she’s a nurse,” Roe said of the Eckharts. “They started taking food into the communities and would bring big bags of clothes and school supplies collected locally.”
Each time, they would set up a small clinic in one of the church buildings and tend to basic medical needs. Roe made her first trip in February of 2008 and has returned twice a year since.
“Cap Haitian felt the earthquake but did not have the physical damage that they had in the southern part of the country,” she said. “Still, they are starting to see a lot of refugees.”
Roe and her group will spend five days in Port-au-Prince beginning Sunday and then another five days in Cap Haitian.
“Most of what we’ll be doing at this point is taking care of old wounds [related to the earthquake],” she said. “Because we’ve been doing this for a long time, we know a lot of people in Port-au-Prince. And our Haitian friends know which people need help.”
The group will be taking antibiotics obtained through an organization called Blessings International. Roe also put out the word at Valley View Hospital and throughout the community for donations of supplies, such as blankets, bandaging material, over-the-counter pain medications, IVs and water purification tablets.
“The support from the community has just been phenomenal,” Roe said. “I don’t think there’re any water purification tablets left in Glenwood Springs, because people bought them all and gave them to me.”
Another aspect of their work is the education of Haiti’s children, which will be an ongoing mission in the country.
“Unfortunately, we so often forget about these places in a month or two after a disaster like this, and what people are going through on a daily basis,” Roe said.
To find out more about the work of Manna Global Ministries in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, visit http://mgm.mannadr.org/.
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