February 12, 2010

Whitehouse Highlights Rhode Island Contributions to Haiti Relief Effort

Senator Applauds Efforts of Rhode Islanders from Providence, East Greenwich, Riverside

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) took to the floor of the United States Senate yesterday evening to highlight some of the ways in which Rhode Islanders are helping victims of the earthquake in Haiti. He pointed out many examples of individuals, schools, and military personnel throughout the state who are working to provide support and financial assistance to those struck by this terrible tragedy.

Selected excerpts from the speech:

“Madam President, bad things can bring out the best in people, and I rise today to speak about our response to the earthquake that devastated Haiti last month and, in particular, about the compassionate efforts that Rhode Islanders have made to help those who suffered through this tragedy.

“The outpouring of support in my State of Rhode Island for those affected by this catastrophe has been overwhelming. Many Rhode Islanders have generously donated to organizations to give whatever they can to the relief of this devastated country. At the Blessed Sacrament School in Providence, a school some of whose students have family members and loved ones in Haiti, the 270-plus students of this small school, pre-K to 8th grade, raised over $1,680 for the Red Cross in a single day. Students and parents at the Frenchtown Elementary School in East Greenwich raised close to $1,700 for the Save the Children relief organization to help those in Haiti. At the St. Mary Academy Bay View in Riverside, fifth graders have produced handmade yarn dolls, which they are selling to raise money for the victims of the earthquake.

“Ten members of the Rhode Island National Guard’s 143rd Airlift Wing flew to Haiti in January to assist in the relief efforts. The 143rd’s latest humanitarian mission before this was in New Orleans assisting in the aftermath of one of our own country’s greatest natural disasters, Hurricane Katrina. This time they flew to Haiti to provide medical transportation and evacuation assistance.

“In January, even the Rhode Island Democratic and Republican parties put politics aside and came together to host a joint fundraiser to benefit the humanitarian relief efforts led by the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund.

“Rhode Island doctors such as Christopher Born, Sachita Shah, Stephen Sullivan, and Helena Taylor, of Rhode Island Hospital, traveled to Haiti in the days after the earthquake to provide critical medical services to those injured. These doctors lacked the medical equipment there that we here take for granted and they were also forced to use rudimentary medical procedures to treat the numerous patients who had lined up for assistance. But they did it, and they made a difference.”


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