When the opportunity arose to join an early responder team to provide emergency relief in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, shortly after the devastating January 12, 2010, earthquake, current AIM student Jeff McLean was quick to volunteer. His employer, Harris Corporation, supported Cooperative Housing Foundation (CHF) International in their Haiti Relief efforts, as part of the Harris Foundation.
Through CHF, Jeff and his team of three other Harris employees worked with many additional organizations, including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Habitat for Humanity, Sun Mountain International, University of Miami/Project Medishare, Internews, New York City Medics, and St. Francis Hospital.
Jeff got involved because of his experience with satellite communications and his time in the United States Marine Corps where, he said, “I got used to being in undesirable locations.” Jeff led Harris Team 2 who, arriving on the one-month anniversary of the earthquake, worked to reinstate communication connectivity in and around Port-au-Prince by providing C and Ku Band Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSAT), Microwave Hops, Land Mobile Radio (LMR) Trunking Systems, and Internet Protocol (IP) phones.
In addition to the communications efforts, Jeff and his team delivered medical supplies, tents, hygiene products, and food, all donated through the Harris Foundation.
"Five a.m. came very early when you hit the rack no sooner than midnight," noted Jeff. "Twelve- to seventeen-hour workdays, seven days a week, took a toll and that didn't take into account squeezing in work for AIM online classes. I could have never imagined the actual devastation from the earthquake. Some places were livable, but others were simply gone. There was a big difference between seeing it on the national news and living it in person. None-the-less, I am proud to say that I had the opportunity to help in a way that provided an immediate impact in saving lives and providing hope. Our assistance in getting communications re-established allowed continuing efforts to keep moving forward. The people with whom I worked were simply amazing and a true testament to what we can all do when it really counts. It was an experience that I will never forget."
PUBLISHED: May 20, 2010