GRAND RAPIDS—An emotional reunion for two people brought together by tragedy.
Reverand LeRiche Roosevelt is the leader for a parish on a small island near his native Haiti. After the earthquake, which killed nearly 300,000 and left five million homeless, he watched helplessly as hundreds swarmed to his parish, looking for help each day. Disconnected from the world, he was finally able to get through to a volunteer for Rays of Hope for Haiti, a friend of his, Maureen Townsend. He sent an e-mail begging for help.
"When you are a priest in the countryside area you are a doctor, you are everything. They come to you and you have nothing, you don't have anything and it makes you die a little inside," Roosevelt said.
Townsend responded, e-mailing everyone she knew.
"To me it was really difficult to sit and think about, i'm safe and warm in my house and there's got to be something we can do to help," said Townsend.
Over time, her friendship with Roosevelt grew as the two shared the grief, and then triumph as they were able to get through to a U.S. Navy ship, sending supplies to Roosevelt's parish.
Now, for the first time in nearly a year the two were able to finally meet to give thanks in person. They had a special dinner with Townsend's church. All proceeds will go directly to Haiti. The group Rays of Hope for Haiti hopes to head back to the country in November.