South GA man's Haiti legacy may be gone - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South GA man's Haiti legacy may be gone

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  The work a south Georgia man did in Haiti for more than 41 years may all be undone by this weeks earthquake.

In that time former Ware County Emergency Services Director, nurse, and pastor Fred James set up eight medical clinics and had millions of dollars in medical supplies and medicine delivered to the people of Haiti.

James also helped children get needed surgeries in the states. Now his son, Palmyra's Director of Nuclear medicine fears much of the work his father did will be destroyed.

Johnny James, better known as 'J. J.,' has a living room is full of things he's brought back from trips to Haiti with this father.

"They actually make these things in a day or less it was unreal to watch them make them," said James.

Now he's watching all he can about the devastation the county's experiencing. The church his father helped was not far from the Presidential Palace and like the palace is likely rubble.

"He would go every year and typically spend about two months out of the year in Haiti," said James.

Visiting more than a half dozen medical clinics he helped set up to make sure those who had very little, had at least basic medical care.

"The level of poverty there is something that you could never fathom. We see poverty in the United States, but down there its different," said James.

While help is pouring into the country he knows it won't be easy to get it distributed with roads blocked, and infrastructure crushed.

"To see what little those people had destroyed it would have killed my father," said James.

While his father died two years ago, he's hopeful the organizations his dad used to call on for donations will once again dig deep to help the people of Haiti.

Fred James wanted to be stationed as a missionary in Haiti. He never was, but that didn't stop him from visiting every year, up until his death. J. J. told us it's been years since he's been to Haiti, but still has friends in the country.


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