Hometown Connection: Ex-UW football player goes to Haiti - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Hometown Connection: Ex-UW football player goes to Haiti

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A former UW-Madison football player is back on American soil after a 10-day relief trip to Haiti.

His football days may be over, but after four years in the Marines, Jake Wood is playing for a different team; instead of athletes, his teammates are medics.

"When I saw the disaster unfolding on TV, I just knew that I had the ability to go down there and make a difference," said Wood, a former offensive lineman for the Badgers who graduated in 2005.

Wood has always been a team player, and when the earthquake devastated Haiti, he started a team of his own to bring help to the helpless.

"It was just pure chaos. Everybody was in the streets... a lot of buildings were just in ruins. There's no way to overexaggerate the destruction that had taken place in Port-au-Prince," said Wood.

Scenes of unimaginable chaos couldn't stop Wood from completing his mission. After all, he's a Marine.

"We were coming across injuries that were five, six, or seven days old, that people were dying from. In america they wouldn't be dying from [those injuries], because they would've been seen by doctors immediately after the disaster," he said.

Wood and the rest of Team Rubicon captured the entire experience in a blog.

More than 20,000 fans cheered on the former football player, as he saved lives by day and slept under the stars at night.

The blog's followers donated more than $15,000 to the team for food and supplies.

This team helped hundreds, perhaps thousands, of injured people, but Wood says it's hard to consider the trip a victory.

"We can save their lives but we can't save their futures, 'cause from here on out, what are they going to do? The economy was already third-world and now what was the economy has been completely destroyed, so that hopelessness was the hardest part to swallow."

Online reporting by Jamie Hersch
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