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Format: 04/17/2014
Format: 04/17/2014

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Beaver County Times: Faith takes volunteers on relief trip to Haiti

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Twelve nights after the earth shook, Haiti was still and the airport in Port-Au-Prince dark when a plane from Pittsburgh landed.

Head lamps and flashlights gave the 79 doctors, nurses and other medical volunteers from the Pittsburgh area enough light to unload by hand 30,000 pounds of medical supplies gathered from hospitals and companies in western Pennsylvania.

The $15 million in donated medications and bandages were sent to soothe pain and heal bodies of Haitians who’d survived the 7.0 magnitude earthquake on Jan. 12. More than 200,000 Haitians didn’t, according to recent Haitian government estimates.

Trauma specialists, orthopedic surgeons and anesthesiologists planned to work at a hospital and several orphanages where they would fix broken bones, save limbs and tend to wounds festering with infections.

Dr. Robert Grieco, a family physician for Heritage Valley Health System in Chippewa Township, and his wife, Nancy, weren’t certain of what they’d be doing in the next days.

Grieco, 52, has practiced medicine in Beaver County for more than 22 years and has done medical missionary work in Mexico.

His 49-year-old wife, a medical technologist, hasn’t worked in the field for decades but is a whiz at organizing, Grieco said. Blessed with a strong Christian faith, they said they knew God would find ways for them to help.

Without hesitation, they answered a Jan. 20 e-mail sent through medical channels asking for volunteers, then hurried to collect supplies, pack and get necessary immunizations.

All the while, they were waiting to find out whether they’d be on the flight chartered by Sewickley businessman James P. Bouchard, founder and chairman of Esmark Inc., a steel and oil production company, and insurer Highmark Inc.

Confirmation came by e-mail at 1:30 a.m. Jan. 24. The plane left Pittsburgh shortly before 4 p.m. that Sunday. On board, they talked to the 11 surgeons, anesthesiologists and medical students, most from Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, who were part of their miniteam. The 13-member AGH team tied Terrible Towels to their luggage and wore blue scrubs.

To read  more, visit the Beaver County Times website.

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