Hilton Head Island man organizes mission to Haiti

By Jaime Dailey - bio | email

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) - Many people in the community are coming together to help the relief efforts in Haiti. A Hilton Head Island pilot, who's also an EMT, is stepping up in another way.

"We couldn't just sit knowing we were trained for this sort of thing and we had to go," said Mike Petrillo.

So for the past day and half, Petrillo has been on a mission, organizing supplies and putting together a five person medical team to take to Haiti. He's an EMT and is going to school to become a Physicians Assistant.

"I watched the coverage of the things going on in Haiti and I couldn't sleep that night so I called one of the EMT's going with me and I said Adam I'd like to go," said Petrillo. " He said I"m with you, let's go."

From there, this medical mission began.

"He made a few phone calls and we got doctors, friends and other people just saying what can we do to help," said Michelle, Petrillo's wife.

"We go ahold of a couple of doctors, Paul Barrenger was kind enough to let us use his airplane, Signature Flight Support is payign for the first load of fuel down there," said Mike.

One by one local doctors, hospitals, organizations and pharmacies in the area began dropping off donations on the runway, donating all kinds of medical supplies and medicines needed for the week long trip.

"Tons of children's vitamins, we've got antibiotics," said Mike.

Supplies, retired Orthopedic Specialist, Dr. Robert Belding from Columbia, knows will be helpful. He's worked as a doctor in Haiti for years and was just waiting for this kind of opportunity to get get back to the Haiti, where he and the others will treat patients outide of Port Au Prince.

"It's a remote hospital in the southern part of Haiti and it's a hospital that hasn't been effected much by the earthquake. We've been doing orthopedics there for a good while so there's a fair amount of orthopedic equipment there," said Dr. Belding.

After organizing all of the donated supplies, they began loading the plane, ready to start an unforgettable journey.

"I just really want to get down there and help," said Adam Kurtz.

"It's the call of God, it's a call in my life to be back on the mission field," said Aaron Stevens.

But before leaving, the team and their supporters prayed.

"Father, we pray first of all Lord that we would be used by you to serve in Haiti," said Mike.

Hand in hand they will do their part to help the people of Haiti.

Mike and his team took off on Friday and will be spending the night in Florida and then heading to Haiti tomorrow morning.

This trip will cost at least $8,000 just in fuel. If you would like to help, donations can be made by calling Preston Parish at 843.227.9597.

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