Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Area groups team up to help Haiti

April 6, 2011

When Reza Nassiri traveled to Haiti last year after an earthquake’s devastation swept the country, he discovered a small hospital without electricity. The power at Justinian Hospital would flicker and fail when patients were in the middle of surgery, making the surgeons’ jobs all but impossible.

Recently, Nassiri — the director of MSU’s Institute of International Health and assistant dean of global outreach and international graduate programs in the College of Osteopathic Medicine — gathered area help to provide the hospital with a working generator.

He enlisted the support of GreenStone Farm Credit Services, 3515 West Road, for a used generator. To fund the generator’s transportation, he teamed up with Lansing’s Sparrow Hospital and Williamston Explorer Elementary, 416 Highland Street in Williamston, Mich.

“(MSU’s Institute of International Health) will do its best to accommodate certain needs,” he said. “It puts us in the forefront of the humanitarian mission.”

Dave Armstrong, chief executive officer for GreenStone, said the generator no longer was needed by their old location, so when he heard about the cause, the company donated the generator to Sparrow Hospital.

“These other groups already had the idea to send a generator,” he said. “Somehow the word just came out that we had a generator available.”

Aaron Walsh, a construction management graduate student, said it’s important for communities to be involved with international relations.

“I think it’s great to show support internationally,” he said. “Especially on a local level.”

Armstrong said communities showing support globally is just as important as showing support locally.

“This was a very unique circumstance,” he said. “Contacts were made in Haiti and here in the Greater Lansing area. This network made great things happen. East Lansing, Lansing and Williamston were able to fix this need with a resource we didn’t need anymore.”

Nassiri said the generator not only provided the hospital with power, but it also was strong enough to provide power to the whole town.

“This was great to hear,” he said. “We know there are other hospitals in the area that need power, too.”

Armstrong said the donation would not have been possible without the unique businesses and organizations in the area.

“You’ve got the university, a large health care provider, an elementary school and a farmer-owned lending corporation,” he said. “They’re all working together to help those in need and that says great things about the people in the Greater Lansing community.”

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