Following the devastating earthquake in Haiti earlier this year, an outpouring of monetary, medical and social support came into the impoverished country. The January 13 quake registered a 7.0 magnitude and estimates today put the death toll as high as 230,000 with one million left homeless.
Last month Reverend Bob Butler, the father of Chicago Fire Juniors U17 midfielder Will Butler, set out on a relief mission to the Caribbean nation. The Elmhurst-based Pastor had been to Haiti the year before to work at a Port-au-Prince orphanage and knew well the need for aid and relief following the disaster.
“My last time there I made good friends with the head of the orphanage, Sister Marie,” said Butler. “When the earthquake occurred I knew that I wanted to return to help in whatever way I could.”
Another thing Butler knew well from his time in the
Caribbean country: The passion the Haitian people hold for the game of soccer.
Before leaving for Port-au-Prince on March 17, the Reverend made a purchase to
assist in that passion.
“I went to one of the local soccer shops and bought 25 Chicago Fire jerseys and some equipment to give away during the mission.”
Working at Sister Marie’s orphanage, Butler was introduced to Pastor Wislet Metellus, the head of an all-boys orphanage in west Port-au-Prince. Before the earthquake, Metellus housed 30 boys, but took in 20 more following the disaster.
Unable to pay rent and without a sponsor, Butler came to the aid of the orphanage through his group Impact for Jesus, eventually providing the boys with the jerseys he’d purchased in Chicago.
“The kids eyes lit up when the got the shirts. They automatically became Fire faithful.”
Often is the case in many parts of the world that a beautiful grass pitch like the one at Toyota Park isn’t available for everyone’s use. In the true spirit of the game, players want to play and the boys found a suitable enough replacement.
“They played on a pig pasture,” said Butler. “They couldn’t have cared less about the surface though, they played for hours and felt like the Chicago Fire in Haiti.”
Seeing some true talent in a number of the kids, the Reverend suggested that Metellus put together a team within the Haitian league setup.
“We’re trying to figure out how to get into the Haitian league so that the kids can continue to develop and take their minds away from the negatives which they can’t control.”
For more information on how you can help Reverend Butler in his missions to Haiti, please E-Mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org