ACU student returns from Haiti, promises more help is on the way

Posted January 20, 2010

On Sunday, ACU senior David Vanderpool was on the border Haiti shares with the Dominican Republic. Along with his father, David ('82), and a team of medical missionaries, he found himself helping with an amputation. At 2 a.m. Wednesday, the Bible major from Tennessee arrived back on the ground in Abilene. By 9 a.m. he was in his Old Testament literature class.

David and a team of alumni and volunteers from Global Samaritan Resources in Abilene are already in the process of planning a trip back to the quake-ravaged region.

"Yes, I've seen the bodies being burned on the beach; yes, the situation is dismal, but it's not impossible," Vanderpool says. "I have seen the work that is being done to help the injured and the survivors. I'm optimistic."

Vanderpool says the concern now is that unsanitary conditions will lead to a mass outbreak of cholera. Dr. Ed Enzor, former chair of ACU's communication department, and his "Global Sam" team are working with Vanderpool to provide shoulder slings, crutches and army stretchers. Once on the ground, volunteers are moving motorcycles, ATVs and flat bed trucks into position to move supplies across the country.

A portable water sterilization unit is also in the supply line. One unit capable of purifying 50,000 gallons of water a day is ready to ship out now; as many as 25 will be available once additional funds are donated.

Enzor says he's working with the military to attain use of a C-130 transport plane.  He has also secured a Gulfstream jet, and he's considering transporting supplies in a borrowed yacht.

"We're going to have a plane flying out of Abilene this weekend, packed full of 5,000 dehydrated meals," promises Enzor.

Vanderpool, meanwhile, says the 182nd Airborne is coming to Haiti's aid.

"I talked to a colonel from the 182nd on Sunday, and they agreed to help us. On Monday, we sent them the coordinates of the hospital we've taken over in the Dominican town of Jimani," Vanderpool says.  "I ran to a supply store in town, got some paint, and put a 20-foot by 20-foot 'H' on the grass. My father and brother and I started praying for help to come soon, and before we said 'amen,' two Blackhawk helicopters were bearing down on us. Inside the choppers there were five surgeons and box after box after box of essential medicine and equipment. I've never seen anything like it. It was instantaneous answered prayer."

David, his father and the family's Mobile Medical Disaster Relief organization say they plan to keep the supplies and the manpower coming. "Water is being passed out, camps are being set up, surgeries are being done, patients are being sent back to find a place to live.  The Lord is opening doors."