On the Ground: Messages from HBCU Alum in Haiti during the Disaster

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Pilot, and Howard University Alum Gil Williams was in Haiti at the time the earthquake that rocked Port Au Prince struck.

Gil is in Haiti now coordinating the air operations for rescue and humanitarian relief, and is sending in updates to Alumni Roundup on what is happening as he is able. In his latest message he says:

I finally was able to grab a couple hours of sleep, but now I am back up preparing for tomorrow’s flights. I do have a sad story that illustrates what people are dealing with:

A colleague of mine lost her husband and 2 of 3 daughters. She had to leave 2 daughters in the rubble to save the life of the third. She didn’t want to leave them, but she had to in order that the third might have a chance at life.

Send a message to my fellow HU alum and thank them for their prayers and support. I lost many friends and colleagues. There but the grace of God, there Go I. Many of the places that I visited often have collapsed. The United Nations Headquarters, which is where I work, collapsed. The hospital collapsed.

The United States is stepping up “big time”. Even though I’m United Nations Staff, I am truly proud to be an American.

I helped evacuate all the US Embassy Personnel and now we are awaiting US Military Marines. Safeguarding your health is critical as a humanitarian relief worker. If you get hurt or sick, you’re no good to the people. I often have to remind myself as someone reminded me yesterday that I failed to eat the entire day. Adrenaline has been pumping as we are still getting aftershocks as I write this email. I’ve left my computer and ran outside twice as I’m crafting you this message.

Updates on the big picture are difficult to get as we have no news capability and the UN has locked us down on the Airport due to security concerns.

I will coordinate the arrival of most US military aircraft, UN aircraft and a few others which will be delivering a wide range of aid over the next several days. I’ve requested 5000 body bags, but I’m afraid that will not be enough.

Please pass on to my Beta Chapter Alpha Bothers that I am well.

Our Hearts and support to go out to Gil. Please check back for updates, and also join our online discussion page here.

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  • Chip

    Reply Reply January 14, 2010


    My prayers go out to ya and all affected……..

    Keep up the good work, God is proud

  • Sunshine

    Reply Reply January 14, 2010

    Peace and light, Brother Gil.

    Spoke to some Epsilon Chapter Alpha Brothers and they send their prayers…


  • Ieshia

    Reply Reply January 14, 2010

    Vaya con Dios Alum!

    I C U Divine Samurai, keep doing God’s work. We supply the resources and you all allocate and the supplies and the compassion in the flesh. Keep us posted. Protect your body, protect your mind, may all the you receive be none other than Divine!

    Keep Using the Force,

  • Karen Valbrun Cohen

    Reply Reply January 14, 2010


    Dear Friend, word can’t express enough my gratitude. We have lost several family members there and they just keep coming. Cant wait to connect.


  • Tony Wilson 8B86

    Reply Reply January 15, 2010


    I am glad you are alright. I knew you were in Haiti working with the UN at the time the earthquake struck and I was concerned regarding your safety. I will pass the word on the rest of the Beta bros that you are OK. We are very proud of you my brother.

  • Steve 16-B-93

    Reply Reply January 15, 2010

    May God keep and cover you and all those affected by this catastrophic event. Blessings…Onward and Upward.

  • 6-BETA-89

    Reply Reply January 21, 2010


    I am glad that you are well. It was quite a scare for about 24 hours before we tracked you down. Love you man. Get home safe.


  • Angie Trapp

    Reply Reply January 21, 2010

    Keep up the great work, Gil. We’ll try reach out to your wife and family in case there’s anything that we can do here to help you while you serve humanity. You are a blessings to so many so much more than you know.
    Trapp & Angie

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