First N.C. team returns from Haiti
    January 25 2010 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

    While immediate needs are overwhelming, and long-term prospects daunting, the first team of N.C. Baptist Men volunteers returned Jan. 22 from Haiti certain they contributed to hope.

    BR photo by Norman Jameson

    N.C. Baptist Men team members — from left: Jack Frazier, Brooks Wadsworth, Jackie Tester and Jack Carroll — grab their gear off the carousel at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport Jan. 22 after facing tough conditions in Haiti.

    Four members of the seven-person initial medical team returned to the Raleigh airport still animated by adrenaline and knowing exhaustion would hit them the next day.

    Before they could gather their belongings in front of a television camera, reporter and appreciative fellow passengers, someone stole one of their bags off the carousel. It was clearly marked Rescue 24.

    With chaos reigning in Haiti and no one in charge to strategically assign rescue volunteers, the North Carolina team heard of a specific need by word-of-mouth and landed in a regional hospital at the edge of Port-au-Prince, and in the town with many injuries from a flour factory explosion from the quake.

    Tintayen was also the town that absorbed a line of trucks dumping unidentified bodies into mass graves, and the thick, acrid odor of death permeated the air.

    “You do what you can, while you can,” said Jack Carroll, a member of First Baptist Church, Hamlet. “We made a difference while we were there.”

    The discouraging reality is that after setting broken bones, amputating mangled limbs and cleaning deep burns — often with only a single aspirin as a pain killer — patients’ only aftercare was to cross the road and lay down in the grass or dirt. There was no shelter to return to.

    Even before the earthquake, Carroll said poverty is so pervasive in Haiti that families “live under a bush, drink out of a gutter and raise their children in the dirt.”

    “Maybe they will look back and say there is love and care and it was shown by these volunteers and it will make a difference when the next missionary comes along,” Carroll said.

    Haiti was the first large scale incident for professional emergency medical technician Jackie Tester. After setting broken bones and treating third-degree burns with no anesthetic she saw her patients hobble across the street and lay down in the grass.

    Everywhere people begged for help. After a 24-hour shift she flopped beneath a tarp to rest and “heard wailing all over the city and there was nothing we could do but pray,” she said.

    BR photo by Norman Jameson

    Jackie Tester

    “I’d go back tomorrow if they call me,” said Tester, a member of McLeansville Baptist Church. “You don’t want to leave these people. We have no idea what kind of pain they suffer.”

    The North Carolina crew saw patients with injuries suffered days earlier but had gone untreated. One little boy with 80 percent of his body deeply burned had no chance to survive, but Tester treated him with dignity, covering him with one of her shirts. Other members said if the team had stayed another few days, Tester would have given away everything she brought.

    Team member Brooks Wadsworth, who directs a group that serves widows and orphans called BLINC, for Building Lives in Christ, was the organizational lynch pin for the team. “It was an amazing sight to see the number of people who were sacrificing all they could for people they didn’t even know,” he said.

    Because he worked with the supply flow he is willing to talk with groups who want to know immediate needs in Haiti and the best way to meet them.

    Carroll, who trained in emergency medical services specifically so he could help in such circumstances, said these kinds of trips always change him.

    “When you get home and turn on the light, be thankful for it,” he said. “If you have a table with four legs that stays flat and stable on the floor, be thankful for it.”

    N.C. Baptist Men are continuing to plan for long-term response to Haitian needs. For the next few weeks only medical personnel are required, and only money is being accepted for donations. 

    Donate through N.C. Baptist Men at 205 Convention Dr., Cary, NC 27511. Mark it: Haiti relief. 

    (EDITOR’S NOTE — More stories and videos about work in Haiti are available online at or  

    Disaster training opens opportunities to go
    With the devastation in Haiti many people have expressed the desire to help. One way to assist people in disaster areas is to be properly trained.

    The North Carolina Baptist Men (NCBM) is offering 24 different classes this year. There are four (4) training categories: basic, crosstrainer, recertification and advanced (more detailed description is available at The cost varies depending on the category of training.

    Baptist Men intentionally leaves out exact locations in order to demonstrate that disaster response requires patience, and flexibility. 
    • Region 2 — March 5-6 in Carteret County
    • Region 4 — March 19-20 in Harnett County
    • Region 6 — April 16-17; location TBD
    • Region 8 — May 7-8 in Lincoln County (tentative)
    • Region 10 — May 21-22 in Jackson County (tentative).
    Call (800) 395-5102, ext. 5599.

    Related stories
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    Haiti conditions bad, but relief pipeline opening
    Haiti response may require $2 million
    Quake shakes ground but not Haitians’ faith
    Major aftershock hits Haiti
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    Second NC team into Haiti
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    Haiti teams focus on urgent & long-term needs
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    Spoke’n (Editor's Journal): Haitians were 1779 allies
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    1/25/2010 7:01:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 0 comments

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