PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti (WCCO) — When the earthquake struck Haiti one year ago, many people wanted to help. A lot of people donated money, while others were compelled to volunteer.
A couple from Minneapolis decided they wanted to do more. Al and Deb Ingersoll’s gave up their jobs in the private sector, sold their belongings, put the rest in storage and took off for Haiti.
Deb is working for the American Refugee Committee, ARC, helping to re-develop communities in Port Au Prince.
Her husband Al is working for a group that helps people with disabilities called Healing Hands for Haiti.
Deb spoke with WCCO’s Holly Wagner by phone from Haiti on Wednesday.
She said the biggest issue the country faces right now is economic development and getting people to work. She said cholera outbreaks continue to be a problem and part of their job for ARC is to promote good hygiene.
Deb also said progress has been slow and sometimes it’s incredibly frustrating, but she and her husband remain committed to the people.
“We just felt compelled. We have a special place for the people of Haiti in our hearts and we just felt really fortunate that we were at a place in our lives where we could do that,” she said. “I just felt fortunate that I’ve been lucky my whole life with everything I’ve done, while you have your personal ups and downs it no where compares to what these people here had happen one year ago today.”
The Ingersoll’s have spent every vacation day for the past nine years volunteering in Haiti. Deb and Al have three grown children, who all live in Minnesota. Two are in college, the other has graduated and one of their children they adopted from Haiti.
WCCO-TV’s Holly Wagner Reports