Tennessee medical volunteers find Haitians appreciate care being delivered

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — After two weeks in this earthquake-ravaged capital, the “dynamic duo” of Tennessee medicine was looking forward to getting home tonight.

(CNS/Bob Roller)

Registered nurse Lynn Blair-Anton, a member of St. Matthew Parish in Franklin, Tenn., and Dr. Donald LaFont, a member of St. Mary Parish in Jackson, Tenn., have spent the last two weeks working in mobile medical clinic, treating Port-au-Prince’s seriously wounded.

They were in Haiti because their parishes are part of the Parish Twinning Programs of the Americas, based in Nashville. They were based at Matthew 25 House, the program’s home-away-from-home for volunteers working in Haiti.

Other volunteers from a variety of organizations christened them the dynamic duo because they could always be found working together.

LaFont, 72, has been volunteering his medical expertise in Haiti since 1992; Blair-Anton since 1997.

“It’s the right thing to do,” Blair-Anton told Catholic News Service this morning while waiting for a ride to the Port-au-Prince airport for a flight home on a commercial transport. “We have the talents. We have the resources.”

Both medical professionals said their faith motivates their actions.

“You can say God lets us do it,” LaFont said. “But we wanted to come. These people need it.”

There has been times during their stay when the mobile teams have almost run out of supplies, but not quite.

“Our supplies have been like loaves and fishes,” Blair-Anton said. “Just when we’re out we get more.”

“You wonder where this stuff comes from, but it shows up,” LaFont added.

The Tennesseans said the Haitians appreciate the help they are getting. At a couple of sites where the clinic set up, people sang songs of thanks for the workers and praise to God as they waited patiently for assistance.

“Instead of saying ‘Why me?'” Blair-Anton said, “they’re saying, ‘Thank you, God.'”

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