Disaster relief

THE DEVASTATING EARTHQUAKE IN HAITI in January prompted many people around the country to make financial contributions to the relief efforts there. Some people, including at least three Hampden-Sydney alumni, took their response further and got personally involved.

Bernard S. Groseclose ’75 served as a representative for Water Missions International, volunteering to assist the organization with logistics in delivering portable water purification systems shipped to Port-au-Prince for use in refugee camps, hospitals, and orphanages.

Michael Lennox ’07 is a second-year student at Wake Forest University School of Law. He organized and led a group of students to Miami where they performed volunteer legal work, processing the rush of applications after President Obama said Haitians already in the United States could apply for Temporary Protected Status, which would allow them to legally work in the U.S. for up to 18 months. According to Professor Margaret Taylor, an expert in immigration law, “Lennox was instrumental in sparking a nationwide effort to bring law students to assist Haitians in Miami over spring break.”

In the days following the earthquake, Glenn S. Tosten II ’96, a Foreign Service Officer in the U.S. Department of State, was working in the Dominican Republic’s Santiago airport helping American evacuees from Haiti get home. There he met a Costa Rican search and rescue team who, to his surprise, revealed that they had no plan for getting to Haiti. Tosten saw that wasting sixty-five people, twelve dogs, and four tons of equipment was not only ridiculous, but unconscion­able. Tosten arranged to have the team fly into Haiti on the Coast Guard airplanes on which evacuees had flown out. He later made arrangements for dozens of other international aid workers and tons of equipment.

The day after the Costa Rican team entered Haiti, they rescued three people who had been buried under a building for four days.

Tosten says, “My heart was filled with joy as I saw my Costa Rican amigos getting the job done.”
Not to be outdone, the Hampden-Sydney College student government rallied the campus community and raised more than $2,700 for relief efforts in Haiti. Student Body President Pierce Robbins ’10 says contributions came from “every conceivable category within our H-SC family.”

Holding the fort in New Orleans
New Orleans is still on the long road to recovery from 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. After the storm, a significant number of physicians left the area and many patients lost their jobs.

By contrast, Dr. Donald T. Erwin ’60 and the rest of the staff at St. Thomas Community Health Center remained in New Orleans, struggling to reopen one month after the hurricane and to provide primary medical care for both insured and uninsured residents.
In April, Dr. Erwin was recognized by the American College of Physicians at its annual meeting as the recipient of the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Award from The Rosenthal Family Foundation, which is given for a recent original approach in the delivery of health care or in the design of facilities for its delivery, which has increased its clinical and/or economic effectiveness.
The award reflects the St. Thomas Community Health Center’s expanded care base, as well as its having been named a Federally Qualified Health Center and a Patient-Centered Medical Home.
Dr. Erwin is a PiKA brother and earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia. Unfortunately, the award presentation fell on the same weekend as Dr. Erwin’s 50th class reunion at Hampden-Sydney, and he was unable to reunite with his old college friends.