COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (June 4, 2014) – Inside the pastel orange and green courtyard of the Bernard Mevs Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, the hospital's top surgeons greeted members of Food For The Poor and Water-Life-Hope. The group traveled there to celebrate the life of a Decatur, Georgia, nurse, through the inauguration of the hospital's new water well and cistern.
“You are more than welcome, and it is a great thing you are doing here,” said Edward Buckley, to the twin Haitian surgeons, Dr. Jerry Bitar and Dr. Marlon Bitar, who were dressed in scrubs and on their way to perform surgery.
Thanks to the generosity of Atlanta residents, the hospital now has access to clean water. Previously the hospital had to truck in clean water for the doctors and patients, and in some parts of the hospital there was no running water at all.
“It never would have occurred to me that a hospital would not have access to water,” said the Rev. Greg Tallant, the Episcopal priest at Holy Trinity Parish in Decatur. A sign across the street from the hospital in front of the water projects reads, “… dedicated to Susan Parry, nurse and healer of many.”
“She took care of many patients during her long career,” said Buckley, who credits Parry for organizing the best nursing staff to care for him. “She brought me back to the land of the living. I feel a huge debt of gratitude to her.”
“I felt immediately the link between her life and this project,” said Richard Parry, Susan's husband, and parishioner at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Atlanta. “I was deeply touched.”
Like the Bitar brothers, Susan was a major voice in healthcare. During her distinguished career at DeKalb Medical Center, she served as head nurse on several floors. After a brief retirement, she returned to DeKalb Medical Center as chief nursing officer and Vice President for Patient Care Services. After finally retiring in 2005, Susan served on the board of DeKalb Medical Center, and organized the Healthcare Ministry at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in downtown Atlanta. On December 28, 2013, Susan succumbed to the complications of a stroke suffered earlier that year. “Susan was a consummate nurse who cared deeply about her patients, one of whom was Ed Buckley,” said Richard Parry, who is a Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Agnes Scott College, in Atlanta. “She was very sensitive and responsive to the suffering of others; nothing could be more appropriate to her memory than the dedication of this project.”
On their recent May 20-23, trip to Haiti, Atlanta attorneys Buckley and Amanda Farahany posted daily blog entries and photos online, in an effort raise awareness about living conditions in the country. “The clean running water for the hospital allows for the care from the youngest of the patients to the oldest,” blogged Farahany, a partner at Barrett & Farahany, LLP, LLP. “Bernard Mevs recently graduated Haiti's first class of professionally trained EMTs, who are operating Haiti's only coordinated rescue service from the hospital in ambulances donated by the City of Miami Beach.” Travelers included Melissa Barrett (student at Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland, Ohio), Benjamin Francis Barrett III (student at Georgia State University in Atlanta), Edward Buckley (Decatur), the Rev. William Thomas Deneke (Decatur), Amanda Farahany (Atlanta), the Rev. George Maxwell Jr. (Atlanta), and the Rev. Greg Tallant (Avondale). The group also visited several potential water project sites for Water-Life-Hope and Food For The Poor's 2014 Dreams Across The Sea. “For it is our belief that the right to clean drinking water is the most fundamental of human rights, for without clean drinking water we cannot fully exercise our other God-given rights,” said Buckley, President of Water-Life-Hope and Dreams Across The Sea committee member. “For example, a child can't enjoy her right to education with parasites roiling in her belly because she does not have clean drinking water.”
Food For The Poor Executive Director Angel Aloma traveled to Haiti with Buckley and the group.
“We are so grateful for what Ed has done, because not only has he worked tirelessly, even through illness, he has been a catalyst to inspire others to help bring clean water to Haiti,” Aloma said. “Witnessing firsthand the work he has accomplished in that country is something I won't forget.”
Food For The Poor's 7th annual Caribbean-themed Dreams Across The Sea, presented by The InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta in Atlanta, Ga., will be Friday, Oct. 24. Paul Goodloe, a meteorologist for The Weather Channel, will serve as master of ceremonies. The event will feature a cocktail reception with passed hors d'oeuvres and a coffee and dessert bar, live music, dancing, a silent auction and giveaways. For additional information, or to purchase tickets, please call, 1-888-404-4248, or visit www.FoodForThePoor.org/atlanta.
Dreams Across The Sea Co-Chairmen are Chris Curry and Saurel Quettan. Additional committee members include Dr. Paula Nelson Adesokan, Scott and Kari Bardowell, Raymond Bazile, Verlyn Britton, Edward Bruno-Gaston, Edward Buckley, Renee Corey-Lubin, Rev. Lebon Faustin, Gina Fraiser, Nekeidra Frederick, Jean Hanges, Michele Jean, Loveless Johnson III, Pascale Jones, Sylvia McClure, Nnena Nchege, Dr. Jason Regis, and Garvin Stewart.
Food For The Poor, named by The Chronicle of Philanthropy as the largest international relief and development organization in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 95 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.