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San Antonio men helping build home in Haiti

Group of men commit to helping Haiti

bethalie-photo-and-haiti-scape

She arrived on a dark runway at the far end of San Antonio International Airport. It was almost exactly 3 years ago.

From that moment San Antonio rallied around Bethlie Paul and her friend Naika Etienne, little girls who were severely injured in the earthquake, and who's legs were saved by the staff at Christus Santa Rosa.

My family became her legal guardian, and a few months later a small group started the process of building a home for Bethlie's extended family.

The circle of donors grew as wide and varied as San Antonio itself. Thursday morning I start the journey back to Haiti, to finish that home.

Bethlies grandmother, aunts and uncle have been living in tents, well really tarps of ropes, for more than 3 years. Through Haiti San Antonio, thousands of South Texans have given to what we are calling "San Antonio House," we leave tomorrow to see Haiti firsthand.

"I really don't know what to expect, a 3rd world country. I've gone online and seen pictures of how devastated it is," said Larry Mahan, one of the group going with me.

Standing among the bleachers at the new soccer stadium that two of them helped construct, a meeting of what I call the "Haiti foursome," four men committed to helping out in a country we have never been to. Mark Lewis helped organize the project.

"I think it's going to have a profound impact on me," said Lewis.

Josh Gerstner and Larry Mahan will bring their expertise in building places, like the new Toyota Field, to a vacant lot in Haiti, where the work has already begun and is nearly complete.

Gerstner was the project manager on the Scorpion's new home.

"Right off the bat, I jumped in with both feet and I've been head first at it ever since," said Gerstner.

Mahan is a professional roofer. All of us know what awaits in Haiti will be nothing like this state of the art soccer facility.

"If I can help one person, or start a family, and in turn once they learn how to do this, then they can help their family and help their community, then it's well worth it," said Mahan.

Twelve people, all members of Bethlie's extended family will call "San Antonio House" home. San Antonio dollars and cents, Haiti brick, mortar and labor, a partnership and a cause much bigger than just four people.

"Getting it done, getting in and out and making sure it gets finished in a good and workman-like manner, that's really what matters," said Gerstner.

"I think it's going to really change a lot of people's lives," said Mark Lewis.

"Just use my talents, help somebody out and if God just used me to do that, then ahh, that's what it's all about," said Mahan.

For a list of recent stories Steve Spriester has done, click here.


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