Pilots In Haiti

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Pilots In Haiti

Post by ohhh_yeah on Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:12 pm

Crying or Very sad

Pilot graduate among Haiti's missing

PORTLAND, Ore.- Her parents are worried sick. Molly Hightower, 22, graduated from the University of Portland last year and she since has been in Haiti volunteering in an orphanage. She kept a blog about her work in Haiti and took delight in detailing the progress of the infants and toddlers as they reached milestones such as learning to walk and overcoming medical issues.

Her father, Mike Hightower, tells KOIN Local 6 by phone there is still reason for hope, despite the building she was living in was reduced to rubble.

“Molly's friend was pulled from the building with just some scratches and broken arm,” Mike said.

Molly’s friend is Rachel Prusnyski, the Pilots’ valedictorian for the class of 2009. She has a broken arm and was flown to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for treatment.

But as of Wednesday evening, Molly was still unaccounted for.

A special prayer service on the U of P campus will be scheduled later this week.

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Re: Pilots In Haiti

Post by up7587 on Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:52 pm

I have read that there could be as many as 500,000 deaths, approximating 5% of the population. This is a massive tragedy.

Would that be Rachel Prusynski? Based on this or this page I am guessing it is! Is she any relation to Fr. Pru? Yikes!

Prayers for all of those impacted by the earthquake. Send dollars, too. Many places to donate: Red Cross, Catholic Relief Services, etc., etc.


Last edited by up7587 on Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:18 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : more info)

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Re: Pilots In Haiti

Post by PilotNut on Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:46 am

Thank you for the information... I hope Molly is okay.

Texting "Haiti" to 90999 is an easy, fast way to help out.... you can donate $10 to the Red Cross via your phone bill.

Please consider donating to the Red Cross, Portland's own Mercy Corps, UNICEF or any charities... The situation is going to get even more grim in the next few days without massive levels of support...

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Re: Pilots In Haiti

Post by Stonehouse on Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:33 am

Yes, Fr. Pru is Rachel's great uncle. There was a really nice photo and article in the Summer 2009 issue of Portland Magazine.

In an amazing coincidence, Molly Hightower's uncle is a priest at Gonzaga and sits on the bench at every Gonzaga baketball game. Here is a thread from the GU Boards with some details:

http://www.guboards.spokesmanreview.com/showthread.php?t=25621

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Re: Pilots In Haiti

Post by DaTruRochin on Thu Jan 14, 2010 10:10 am

Fr. Hightower is one of my favorite people of all time, he was a novitiate at my HS while I was there, serving as a teacher, mentor and soccer coach. The Zags are lucky to have such a great person and spiritual leader on their bench, my heart absolutely goes out to him.

I hope the entire UP and Bellarmine community keeps Molly and her family in all of our collective prayers.

Here's the front page article from the Tacoma News Tribune that came out today: http://www.thenewstribune.com/topstory/story/1027866.html

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Re: Pilots In Haiti

Post by PilotNut on Thu Jan 14, 2010 10:36 am

Here is an article from the Oregonian: LINK.


Molly Hightower, a University of Portland grad, has been in Haiti since June. She volunteers at an orphanage. The building where she was staying collapsed. Her parents, who live in Port Orchard, have not heard from her.



Two University of Portland students trapped in collapsed building in Haiti; one escapes but the other is unaccounted for

The parents of a University of Portland graduate who is spending a year working in a Haitian orphanage are awaiting word from their daughter.

Molly Hightower, 22, of Port Orchard, Wash., has been a volunteer for Friends of the Orphans since June. She works with disabled children in a facility outside Port au Prince. The building where Hightower lived collapsed, said her father Mike Hightower. He said his daughter was on the fifth floor at the time of the quake.

A friend who was visiting her, Rachel Prusynski, a fellow 2009 University of Portland graduate, was on the seventh floor at the time of the quake. Prusynski was pulled from the rubble, was taken to the U.S. embassy and then transported to Guantanamo Bay. She then was flown to Florida, where she contacted the Hightowers to tell them what happened.

“The only thing we know is the building she was in – the residence – collapsed,” Mike Hightower told The Oregonian this morning.

He said another worker who was staying on a lower floor also survived.

“We are planning on Molly surviving, too,” he said.

Molly Hightower has been chronicling her experiences in her blog.

Hightower said his wife and three other children are glued to CNN for updates. They scan news Web sites for the latest information out of Haiti. So far, they have heard nothing from their daughter.

After graduating from UP, Hightower decided to follow in her aunt’s and uncle’s footsteps by working for Friends of the Orphans. She signed up for a yearlong stint as a volunteer helping disabled children. She teaches them to swim and helps with physical therapy. He said his daughter has applied to graduate school and planned to get a degree in sociology or psychology.

The orphanage where the children live was not destroyed, Hightower said. He said he has heard reports that the children are safe.

Prusynski, meanwhile, a summa cum laude graduate with a degree in life science and Spanish, spoke about helping the poor in her remarks to the graduating class last spring.

“I did nothing to deserve to be born into such a wonderful life — none of us did,” said Prusynski, of Boise. “It was the best original birthday gift any of us could have ever received. Never forget your original birthday gift and earn it over and over every day in whatever way you are able to give back to the world.”

Prusynski has deep ties to UP. Her great uncle, the Rev. Chester Prusynski, is the oldest priest living on campus.

-- Noelle Crombie

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Re: Pilots In Haiti

Post by PilotNut on Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:29 pm

UP Release:

Two recent University of Portland alumnae among those in Haiti earthquake

University of Portland’s 2009 valedictorian Rachel Prusynski is among those who survived the devastating earthquake in Haiti this week. But the fate of friend and fellow 2009 graduate Molly Hightower remained unknown Thursday as a worldwide rescue effort unfolds.

Prusynski, of Boise, Idaho, reported that she suffered broken bones after being pulled from the wreckage of a building that collapsed. Prusynski stated that she was on the top floor of the building when the earthquake occurred.

Hightower, of Port Orchard, Wash., was believed to be on the fifth floor of that same building, according to a message from Prusynski. She had gone to Haiti to work with disabled children for an organization called “Friends of Orphans.”

University president, Rev. E. William Beauchamp, C.S.C., asked the University community yesterday to pray for Prusynski and Hightower, who have been performing service work in Haiti, as well as for those whose lives were devastated by the earthquake.

“This is a people who will need our prayers and our assistance for months, if not years, to come,” Beauchamp stated. “As a University community we pray in a special way for the safety and well-being of members of our community who live and work in Haiti, as well as the Holy Cross religious who make that place their home.”

In her valedictorian speech last May, Prusynski spoke on the worldwide necessity of community service and outreach to combat poverty, starvation and other global epidemics. Prusynski, summa cum laude graduate in both life science and Spanish, cited a University service trip to Nicaragua, in which she witnessed thousands of people rummaging through refuse to resell for survival, which caused her to realize how fate had been good to her.

“I did nothing to deserve to be born into such a wonderful life—none of us did,” she said. “It was the best original birthday gift any of us could have ever received. Never forget your original birthday gift and earn it over and over every day in whatever way you are able to give back to the world.”

Prusynski’s ties to the University of Portland are deep and include several aunts and uncles who preceded her on The Bluff overlooking the Willamette River in north Portland. One such family link is her great uncle, the beloved Rev. Chester Prusynski, C.S.C., the oldest Holy Cross priest living on campus.

In addition to traveling to Nicaragua, Rachel went to the U.S.-Mexico border through the Moreau Center and studied abroad in Granada, Spain, for a semester. She also was selected to participate in the University’s Murdock Summer College Research Program last summer with professor Ami Ahern-Rindell to conduct research in genetics.

Hightower, also a 2009 graduate of the University of Portland, majored in psychology, sociology, and French Studies, and studied in Paris in the summer of 2007. Her family lives in Port Orchard, Wash., and she is a graduate of Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma, where she was on the cross country team. Trudie Booth, professor of French language at UP noted that Molly is a very gifted student of French and, while a student here, participated admirably in class and was an excellent student. Rev. Art Wheeler, C.S.C., assistant provost and university professor remarked, “Molly loves French culture. She is religious and oriented toward social justice.”

“The University of Portland community waits for news about Molly and others suffering in Haiti,” Beauchamp notes. “Molly is recognized as a heroic young woman serving the most vulnerable children in one of the poorest countries in the world who recognized the critical need in Haiti long before this natural disaster stuck the country. The University community is holding vigil, praying for her safe return.”

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Re: Pilots In Haiti

Post by DaTruRochin on Thu Jan 14, 2010 4:15 pm


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Re: Pilots In Haiti

Post by PilotNut on Thu Jan 14, 2010 4:51 pm

Picture & Caption from the MSNBC article:


Molly Hightower and one of the orphans under her care in Haiti are shown here in a family photo from 2009. Hightower, 22, is missing after the building in which she lived collapsed in the quake.

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Re: Pilots In Haiti

Post by onetouchfutbol on Thu Jan 14, 2010 10:10 pm

up7587 wrote:I have read that there could be as many as 500,000 deaths, approximating 5% of the population. This is a massive tragedy.

Would that be Rachel Prusynski? Based on this or this page I am guessing it is! Is she any relation to Fr. Pru? Yikes!

Prayers for all of those impacted by the earthquake. Send dollars, too. Many places to donate: Red Cross, Catholic Relief Services, etc., etc.

I don't want to belittle the situation as it's absolutely horrible. My impression was that the estimated potential death toll was 50,000, not, 500,000 though. All of my prayers and support....

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Re: Pilots In Haiti

Post by DaTruRochin on Thu Jan 14, 2010 11:23 pm

The first reaction was 500K, but at this point with such utter devastation, and the already basically non existent infrastructure rendered even worse making actually getting aid where it needs to be extremely difficult, the estimates are all over the place.

Here's the latest article from the Tacoma News-Tribune:
http://www.thenewstribune.com/topstory/story/1029215.html

Sounds like some rescue teams have actually reached the orphanage complex, keep up the prayers for good news!

Fr. Hightower is actually acting as one of the representatives for communicating with the media.

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Re: Pilots In Haiti

Post by up7587 on Fri Jan 15, 2010 12:54 am

I have also seen estimates all over the board. The 500,000 will hopefully be dramatically pessimistic. It was one of the early ones I read.

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Re: Pilots In Haiti

Post by Rochin54 on Fri Jan 15, 2010 6:24 am

Molly's remains were found in the rubble of the orphanage:

http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2010/01/family_says_remains_of_up_grad.html

Prayers for Molly, her family, and friends.

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Re: Pilots In Haiti

Post by PilotNut on Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:49 am

My condolensces to Molly's family and friends, and my thoughts continue to go out to everyone effected by this tragedy, and those who are bravely risking their own lives to help others in Haiti.

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Re: Pilots In Haiti

Post by PilotNut on Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:03 am

The University has established a relief fund to aid the victims in Haiti.

UP Link

University establishes Haiti Relief Fund to assist those affected by earthquake

The University of Portland community’s response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti this week has been one of prayerful solidarity, hopeful petitions for the safety of our alumnae and all others there, and offers to provide financial assistance. The University is accepting donations for relief efforts and will split all money received evenly between Catholic Relief Services and the Holy Cross Community.

“We pray for the people of Haiti and those whose lives were devastated by the earthquake,” said University President, Rev. E. William Beauchamp, C.S.C. “We pray for those who have lost their lives and for those who grieve their loss, we pray for the injured and for those who have lost everything. This is a people who will need our prayers and our assistance for months, if not years, to come.”

Catholic Relief Services has been excellent at providing immediate, short term assistance in disaster situations overseas. CRS staff is already in place in Haiti providing food and relief supplies . For over 60 years, Holy Cross Priests, Brothers and Sisters have been ministering, teaching and caring for the people of Haiti. Many of their buildings have been destroyed in the earthquake.

To donate to the Haiti Relief Fund , please make checks payable to the University of Portland and note “Haiti Relief Fund” in the memo. Checks can be sent to the Development Office, which will collect funds until Jan. 22, 2010. In addition, donations can be given online on the secure University website. Please follow this link and look for the fourth category listed, “Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund”: https://webster.up.edu/giveonline/

The University will also be celebrating a special Mass on Saturday, January 16 at noon in prayer for the safe recovery of 2009 graduate Molly Hightower, who was working in Haiti at an orphanage and who has been missing since the earthquake struck. All members of the community, especially young alumni of the University, are invited to attend.

In addition to the work already being done in Haiti, Catholic Relief Services is helping coordinate efforts to collect additional necessities such as plastic sheeting, hygiene kits, mosquito nets and water purification tablets. These supplies are being loaded in the Dominican Republic for distribution in Haiti.

"Search and rescue will have to find people in the rubble, treat people who are injured, secure food and water, and set up shelter for the homeless," said Bill Canny, CRS director of emergency operations. "We will be working hard to bring help to these people who have suffered so much."

Holy Cross missionaries first came to Haiti in 1944 to direct an existing secondary school in Cap Haitien. That initial mission, now called College Notre-Dame, sparked the establishment of other Holy Cross educational, social and parochial ministries throughout Haiti, now organized as the Province of Notre-Dame du Perpetual Secours with 70 religious, including two Holy Cross bishops.

“As a University community we pray in a special way for the safety and well-being of members of our community who live and work in Haiti, as well as the Holy Cross religious who make that place their home,” Beauchamp said.


Last edited by PilotNut on Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:57 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Split the topic--it's worthy of it's own thread)

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Re: Pilots In Haiti

Post by DaTruRochin on Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:37 am

I'm having difficulty gathering my thoughts, but I extend my deepest condolences to the entire Hightower family, especially to Fr. Craig who served at the same orphanage as his niece before joining the Society of Jesus.

I hope her memory can inspire us all to help those less fortunate, and in the future I sincerely hope the best efforts are made to assist the rebirth of the otherwise forsaken country of Haiti.

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Re: Pilots In Haiti

Post by PilotNut on Fri Jan 15, 2010 12:45 pm

The University will be holding a Memorial Mass for Molly at noon on Saturday, January 16th, in the Chapel of Christ the Teacher.

In the spirit of an online Memorial, here is another picture of Molly (on the right) & friends from her time in Haiti.




Last edited by PilotNut on Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:10 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Pilots In Haiti

Post by pilotram on Fri Jan 15, 2010 1:34 pm

RIP. A real hero.

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Re: Pilots In Haiti

Post by onetouchfutbol on Mon Jan 18, 2010 11:09 am

Agreed. My condolences as well. Her parents should be proud. One of the things that really makes me proud of UP is the amazing number of students who continue to do post-graduate service work year after year. The number of people with ACE, the Holy Cross Associates program (now unfortunately defunct), Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos, Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Peace Corps, and the list keeps going and going. As a former Holy Cross Associate myself, it just makes me proud to be a graduate...even as saddened as I am by this story.

-----------------

I guess the latest estimate of deaths in Haiti is 200,000. I stand corrected...

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Re: Pilots In Haiti

Post by PilotNut on Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:17 am

Obituary as appeared in the Tacoma News Tribune:

LINK



Molly Mackenzie Hightower March 29, 1987 - January 12, 2010 Our darling Molly was tragically taken from us by the Haitian earthquake doing the thing she loved the most - helping and caring for disabled children. Molly was born in 1987 and lived in Pacific until 1994, when the family moved to Port Orchard. She graduated from Bellarmine Prep, where she participated in cross-country and fastpitch softball, playing catcher. She was a talented flautist. Molly attended the University of Portland, studying abroad in Paris one summer. She graduated in May 2009 with a triple major, French, Sociology and Psychology. In her 22 years on this earth, Molly accomplished more than most people do in a lifetime. She loved traveling and visited Las Vegas, Disneyland, New York, Paris, Rome, and London. Yet, most of all, Molly wanted to make a difference in children's lives. She made the decision to volunteer in Haiti, working with abandoned and disabled children. This was her passion. Molly will forever remain in the hearts of her family and those who were touched by her friendship and compassion. She is survived by her parents Mike and Mary of Port Orchard, her beautiful siblings, sister Jordan and brothers Zach and Sean, who she loved with all of her heart, grandparents John and Annette Hightower of Renton, and Barney Barkshire of Gig Harbor, aunts and uncles Paul and Margot Hightower of Federal Way, Therese Hightower of San Francisco, Christina and Mark Zimmerman of Rosburg, Craig Hightower S.J. of Spokane, Jeff and Kiko Hightower of Chinook, Jerry Barkshire of Olalla, Pam and Mick Deines of Gig Harbor, great aunts and uncles Earl Zuelke of Helena, Rev. Lee Hightower of Lakewood, Marshall Lewis of Seattle, Art and Mary Fran Barkshire of Seattle, and Marie O'Neill of Tri-Cities, cousins Matt, Meg, Katie, Dominique, Meghan, Travis, Ali, Brady, Nicholas, Olivia, Isabel, Broghan, Hailey, Mick and Jake. Molly will forever remain in the hearts of her family, friends and those who were touched by her compassion and dedication for children. May her life be an inspiration to volunteer and make a difference in our World. Funeral Mass will be celebrated Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 11:00am at St. John Bosco Catholic Church in Lakewood. Memorial donations can be made to Molly's Passion, the children. www.friendsoftheorphans.org/molly. Please leave online condolences at www.GaffneyCares.com. Arrangements by Gaffney Funeral Home, 253-572-6003.

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Re: Pilots In Haiti

Post by PilotNut on Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:48 am

It is hard to believe that this tragedy was 2 years ago... Let us never forget UP's hero, Molly Hightower.

There is a great "must read" article in the Seattle Times today, focused on Molly and her surviving friend Rachel Prusynski on the 2 years since the tragedy: LINK

A reminder for the Molly Hightower scholarship at UP, with information and how to donate: LINK.




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Re: Pilots In Haiti

Post by DoubleDipper on Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:28 pm

I never had the good fortune to meet Molly, but I met Rachel on a number of occasions and absolutely love her. The dedication and selfless acts of both Molly and Rachel dwarf any athletic contests.

In my speeches to middle-school and high-school students I often use excerpts from Rachel's valedictorian speech at the University of Portland in 2009, before the earthquake, and her speech at the Bishop Kelly High School graduation in 2010, after the earthquake.

Below is the link to a video of Rachel discussing her ordeal in Haiti, her appeal for money, and her intention to go back to Haiti. (I think if you dig further you'll find the speeches I mention above; if you can't, email me and I will send them to you. They're too long to include here.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwYdq8N75TA

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