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Southwest Missouri Man Leaves For Hurricane-Damaged Haiti - KOAM TV 7

Southwest Missouri Man Leaves For Hurricane-Damaged Haiti

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Newton County, Missouri -

A Southwest Missouri man leaves tomorrow at 2 am for Haiti, after it was hit by Hurricane Matthew.  The category four made landfall there at around six this morning.  It's not his first trip there.  He developed a mission there after the earthquake six years ago. 

You can imagine, while looking at video of what hurricane Matthew has left behind in Haiti, that pictures can only tell so much about the devastation.  You can imagine.  But Bill Montgomery will soon be experiencing it all.  Even he doesn't know how to mentally prepare.

"I can't imagine.  It's going to be tough," says Montgomery.

There are 15,000 people on the Haitian island of Ila a Vache, where Montgomery's mission, Just Mercy, is located.  The mountainous region means beautiful pictures, but also little hope during a disaster.

"In isolated areas, they will receive 40 inches of rain, they're talking," says Montgomery.  "There are going to be flash floods that will take out some of the villages in some of the valleys.  They think they're safe, they're up eight or ten feet above river beds, and they think they're fine because they have had floods through there.  But this is a different animal."

Montgomery is taking with him two chainsaws; important for disaster recovery here in the U.S., but an almost unseen tool in parts of Haiti.

"I have the only two saws on the island," says Montgomery.

Montgomery has heard from a friend who rode-out the hurricane that many parts of Ila a Vache are completely lost, and that includes people.  Montgomery says there may never be an official death toll.

"In the mountains, they pretty much get forgotten," says Montgomery.

Montgomery will do what he can, with the help of other volunteers, to repair roads, houses, and shattered lives.  He has a one-way plane ticket to Haiti, a journey with an unknown time frame.  60-year-old Montgomery, though, says he wants to leave a subtle, lasting impression.

"We have 18 grandchildren.  This is not easy, really, for us to leave.  But I hope my grandchildren will respect me more because of it, not less," says Montgomery.

Montgomery's travels will begin tomorrow morning in Springfield, where he will fly to Dallas, then Ft. Lauderdale, then to Haiti, where he still has many hours to go before reaching the island with his base camp.

Click here to learn more about Montgomery's mission, Just Mercy, and here to learn more about other relief efforts, like one by the Salvation Army that has also been helping Haiti for several years.

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