Saturday, January 30, 2010

Humanitarian help in Haiti

We get to work in Salt Lake City with a lot of great people. This week one of them returned from Haiti. Liz Howell helps oversee the Newborn Resuscitation Humanitarian program we are involved with. We love working with her and are proud of the service she provided to the people of Haiti. I copied this article from the Deseret News. A big hug to Liz and all those people who are serving selflessly in Haiti and other areas of the world where so much help is needed. 

Peace of service binds woman's broken heart

After death of her husband, Liz Howell lives to give
Published: Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010
Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Liz Howell bustles about the injured and ailing Haitians, cleaning wounds, applying bandages and flashing her trademark grin as she provides care to patients of all ages suffering in the aftermath of the devastating Jan. 12, earthquake.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Liz Howell carries Oresto Oclor, 4, to a hospital for surgery on his arm. Since the death of her husband during 9/11, she has devoted her life to serving and helping others. She is part of medical team the Church sent to Haiti to treat the wounded.

She provides the same, perky spark among her peers as the only female among the 18-member, Church-sponsored team of doctors and nurses volunteering in Haiti.
Few of the men in her medical team, and certainly none of the Haitians she has seen, know how aptly Sister Howell fits the fifth stanza of James Montgomery's 1826 poem, "The Stranger and His Friend." Part of the stanza reads: "Stript, wounded, ... I found him by the highway side. I roused his pulse, brought back his breath, Revived his spirit ... He was healed. I had myself a wound concealed, But from that hour forgot the smart, And peace bound up my broken heart."
The poem later became the lyrics to the Christian hymn "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief," a favorite of early leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Hymns, No. 29).
You see, Sister Howell herself has a wound concealed.
Eight-plus years ago in Arlington, Va., Brady and Liz Howell were enjoying their four-year marriage and the prospects of their respective careers — Brady working at the Pentagon as a presidential management intern in Naval intelligence and Liz beginning to position herself in the medical field with prestigious national and international connections.
That all ended on Sept. 11, 2001.
Brady Howell was one of the 188 killed in the 9/11 attack at the Pentagon.
Liz called him "my hero."
Brady and Liz Howell became household names during local and national coverage of the terrorist attacks and the impacts on the victims' surviving families.

Rick Bowmer, AP
Former U.S. President George W. Bush comforts Olympic torchbearer Liz Howell.

Three and a half months later, Liz Howell found herself unexpectedly back in the national spotlight when she was invited to represent the families of 9/11 victims by carrying the Olympic torch in the run leading up to the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Games.
And not just any stretch of the run but the leg in Washington, D.C., going up the South Lawn of the White House. And handing the torch to then-President George W. Bush, who greeted Sister Howell with a tender embrace and a gentle kiss on the cheek.
Sister Howell found life difficult without her husband. She still does.
"There's a scripture that says the worth of a soul is great in the eyes of God," she said. "I really grew to understand what that meant with the loss of my husband, just how great a loss it is."
The magnitude and scope of a death not only affects a spouse and family but results in what Sister Howell called a domino effect of grief and the disappointment of lost potential.
"I realized there are other people in the world who are suffering, and while I by no means am an expert on grief or trial, I'm acquainted with grief," she said. "I just realized at that point that I wanted to serve others with all my heart, with everything that I had, and I realized that I had been blessed so much after the loss of my husband and comforted so much."
Sister Howell had come to the realization that the worth of a soul is great, as is the value of comforting and caring for that soul. Humanitarian service then became a natural for combining compassion and medical care.
Medical training and education took alterations; Sister Howell refuses to call them "changes" but rather "enhancements." She looked for opportunities to serve others.
"That's why I decided at 30 that I would go on a mission — at age 30!" exclaimed Sister Howell in mock disbelief at herself. She served her LDS mission in Portugal.
"It was a difficult transition period," she admitted. "People can take away your loved ones, they can take away your greatest treasures, but they cannot take away or change the way you respond to a situation.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Liz Howell examines children after the Jan. 12 earthquake while working at a temporary clinic in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

"And that's what I made. I took the responsibility to channel my grief in a positive direction."
In addition to being a nurse, Sister Howell is one of eight full-time employees in the Church's Humanitarian Services, working in the neonatal resuscitation training program.
She helps gather and coordinate teams of doctors and specialists who travel across the country and throughout the world to train individuals who in turn train others on techniques to improve newborn mortality rates.
Sister Howell said she loves the humanitarian work and the opportunity to teach and interact with others.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Liz Howell decided she would spend her life serving others after her own tragic loss.

"When you're of service, you lose yourself," she said. "All of a sudden, your trials don't seem nearly as big because everybody else is going through something. It puts it in perspective, and it's very, very healing."
Sister Howell, who said she has "a lot of love that I can give," spent a week giving that love one injured or ailing patient at a time at makeshift clinics housed in LDS meetinghouses in Port-au-Prince.
And she's allowed the peace of humanitarian service to bind up her broken heart.


bBchronicles said...

AMAZING, what a lovely person - thanks so much for sharing this - it truly touched me!

Jonna said...

I also really enjoyed that makes you want to do more and be better! I think the work you and Dr. Jeff do is amazing as well.