Rosemount dentist Michael Mardell was supposed to leave for Haiti Jan. 16 on a humanitarian trip, but the Jan. 12 earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands in the Caribbean country has put the trip on hold.
Having been to the small country island country several times over the past few years to provide dental care for the country's poor, Mardell said he can only imagine the devastation.
"As soon as I heard (about the earthquake) I knew it was going to be an absolute disaster," said Mardell, a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church.
Mardell was scheduled to go with people from several churches in the area. They were set to run a medical clinic, providing eye exams, dental services and prescription medicines for a few days in the mountain city of Kenscroft. The group has seen about 1,000 patients a day on previous trips. During the two prior trips Mardell, a longtime Rosemount dentist, has pulled teeth and provided medicine to help people with infections.
"They don't have access to the same care. I've never seen a filling down there. I provide very basic care," said Mardell.
This year's trip, which also would have included work in Port-au-Prince, has been put off now until at least March because commercial flights to Haiti have been canceled.
While the people the group serves have very little in the way of possessions, Mardell said as a general rule they are a happy people. Being able to help, Mardell, said, has been a great joy.
"I feel blessed to help because they really have nothing at all," said Mardell.
Having a connection to the people of Haiti, Mardell said he is saddened by the recent events and hopes he can get to Haiti sometime soon to help. While things are up in the air, he said there is a possibility the group could go down later in the spring.
"We will just have to see," said Mardell.
Ways to help
Although traveling to Haiti is out of the question for at least a while there are ways people in Rosemount can help. Several Rosemount churches are affiliated with disaster aid groups.
Rosemount United Methodist Church has been sending money and medical kits to the United Methodist Committee on Relief, which had workers in Haiti at the time of the Earthquake.
Pastor Karen Bruins said two UMCORE workers lost their lives in the disaster. Sam Dixon and Clint Raab both died as result of injuries sustained during the event. Despite the losses Bruins said the group's mission goes on.
"It's one of the best things we do as Methodists," said Bruins.
Bruins said all money donated to the charity goes directly to helping people. Administrative costs of the program are paid through a different offering given by the church.
Lots of people have been moved to give said Bruins and she anticipates more donations will come in.
"If people are moved to give that would be wonderful," she added.
People can donate money or medical supplies to UMCORE by dropping off donations to the Rosemount United Methodist Church, 14770 Canada Ave. Call 423-2475 for more information on medical supplies needed.
St. Joseph Catholic Church also has set up a way for people to help through the Catholic Relief Services. CRS had people respond right after the Earthquake and continue to provide resources to the country.
Anyone wishing to donate to CRS can pick up an envelope at St. Joseph Church or visit the CRS website at www.crs.org.