Return to Guardlife Homepage
New Jersey Guard serving New Jersey

Pfc. Andrew Chretien, 2nd Battalion, 113th Infantry assists 87-year-old Kathryn McDonnell as she gets off a New Jersey Army National Guard 5-ton truck that moments earlier had assisted the Lincoln Park Fire Department in evacuating her from her house, which was encircled by rising floodwaters on March 11. Photo by Sgt. Wayne Woolley, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Public Affairs Office)

As Maj. Gen. Glenn K. Rieth, left, watches, Gov. Chris Christie, second from left, congratulates Staff Sgt. Jonathan Yont, right, 2nd Battalion,113th Infantry, for his efforts in helping New Jerseyeans affected by the flooding on March 11. Also in the photo are, starting from Yont's right Spc. Kirk Kirlew, Sgt. Michael Onembo, Spc. Gerardo Guizar and Sgt. Curvey Purkett. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen, 177th Fighter Wing Public Affairs)


By Master Sgt. Donald Clarke, NJARNG Recruiting and Retention Command

It has been a year since I witnessed the destruction and devastation of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that took the lives of more than 250,000 Haitians and left the country in distress.

I returned to Haiti a year after the earthquake on a different mission. When I was there in 2010 with a group of volunteers it was an aid and rescue mission, and now we were returning to support the rebuilding mission.

Our mission this time around was to put in a playground and basketball court for a village where displaced Haitians had ended up after the quake. The sponsors had already built more than 350 homes and were in the process of constructing another 150. In between building the playground, placing the basketball court in and conducting numerous food and toy drops; we assisted in the building of some of the homes.

During the eight days we delivered food to more than 1,000 people; we built the playground, and put in the basketball court; we have been told that it is used every day until the sun goes down. I am extremely humbled by the opportunity that I have been given to assist the country of Haiti and I would go back in a minute if asked.

The mission in Haiti is not over and it will take many more years to get the country back on its feet. The question I ask of you is: Will you help?

Table of Contents
Volume 35 Number 3 Staff / Information
(c) 2011 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs