A Heart for Haiti: One year later - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

A Heart for Haiti: One year later


BELOIT (WKOW) -- Wednesday marks one year since the devastating earthquake in Haiti.

Since then, hundreds of Wisconsinites have volunteered their time in Haiti, helping the country to rebuild.

Tuesday, 27 News caught up with some of the members of the congregation at Central Christian Church in Beloit. The church community has been actively involved in Haiti for years.

Numerous families have adopted children from Haiti, and some were in the process, when the earthquake hit.

Shawn Banker and his wife were in the process of adopting their son, Nady when the quake hit. Within days, Banker was on a plane, heading toward the devastated country.

Banker said Tuesday, "That was the most devastating part... to get so close... yet feel so far away."

Reliving the moment a year later, Shawn says he had to do it.

Banker added, "Something just sparked, and I said, I'm going to Haiti."

Banker documented it all on video. He got on the last flight into the Dominican Republic, staying the night at a hospital.

He then hitched a ride into Haiti, heading toward the collapsed orphanage where Nady lived.

Banker said, "He was just sitting there in an empty field... and we embraced. I said, 'We're going home.'"

A year later, he says, life is good.

Banker said, "It's better than it's ever been; he's on varsity soccer, has straight A's."

A happy ending, after a devastating loss. But the work continues for the church community.

Wilky Clark, 19, was adopted by Pastor David Clark and his family six years ago.

He says he loves it here, but he goes back to help and to build homes for families in need every year.

He was just there a month ago.

Clark says, "People are still living in tents, the price of food is higher than ever, people are dying of hunger. I could say... it's worse than ever."

Now, there are other dangers. An outbreak of cholera, and violence surrounding elections.

Clark was supposed to leave in early December, but couldn't get out of the country for a week because of violence.

Clark says, "I was trying to get out, but there was so much shooting, people throwing bottles... I just stayed in the home, locked the gate."

Eventually, Clark was able to make it to the airport where he slept for a few days before getting on a plane to head home.

He says he's sometimes scared, but he'll always go back.

Clark says, "I know what it feels like to not have anything, so I'm always going to go back... no matter what."


MADISON (WKOW) -- Wednesday marks one year since the devastating earthquake in Haiti.

South central Wisconsin has continued to support the country in countless ways, whether through adopting children from Haiti, sending down crews to work in hospitals or to help with the rebuilding process.

More than 70 Americans died in the earthquake, including 25-year-old Ben Larson, a La Crosse native who was working with the ELCA global mission along with his wife and cousin. More than 13,000 Americans were evacuated when Port-au-Prince shook on January 12, 2010. 


27 News Continuing Coverage of Lifeline to Haiti:

Body of La Crosse native killed in quake found in Haiti (Jan. 29, 2010)

Statement from the family of Haiti quake victim Ben Larson (Jan. 29, 2010)

ECLA hoping to retrieve body of local earthquake victim (Jan. 25, 2010)

Statement from family of WI quake victim Ben Larson (Jan. 15, 2010)

La Crosse native killed in Haiti earthquake (Jan. 14, 2010)

Powered by Frankly