Alumni Coordinate Emergency Response After Haiti Earthquake

Kathy Troyer ’75 and Virgil Troyer ’74 felt the aftershocks of Haiti’s tragic January earthquake first hand, but left the disaster feeling inspired.

The Troyers, in their second year as regional disaster coordinators, in Honduras for Mennonite Central Committee, were asked to coordinate MCC’s disaster response following the 7.0 earthquake that affected an estimated 3 million people.
“We worked with the (MCC Haiti) team to take stock of the situation and to organize the team to begin the overwhelming task of responding to the situation,” Virgil said. “Early on it was chaotic and overwhelming. The situation seemed hopeless.”

Virgil spent two months in Haiti developing emergency response plans. Kathy was in Haiti for five weeks and kept MCC offices in Canada and the United States informed on the crisis.

“As we met first with the MCC team and then with partners and other Haitians, we saw a determination and resiliency unlike anything I have experienced,” Virgil said. “As we asked Haitians what should to be done to rebuild Haiti, they would consistently correct us saying, ‘We are not going to rebuild Haiti (the way it was), this is our opportunity to build a new Haiti.’ There was a faith in God and hope for the future… That was inspiring.”

MCC no longer is seeking donations for Haiti relief, but you can support MCC’s work by visiting Learn what MCC is doing in Haiti at earthquake.

—Tyler Falk ‘09