Tallahassee Man Jumps at Chance to Help Folks in Haiti

Over the past few months, thousands of people have traveled to Haiti to help clean up after the massive earthquake.

That includes John Mackey, a man who by day works at Wells Fargo in Tallahassee, but when the call comes, he's on the next flight out, doing what he can to help.

The pictures from Haiti tell the story. Complete devastation and loss. Lives are lost, homes are destroyed--families displaced. Folks in Haiti need all the help they can get. That's where John Mackey comes in. He volunteers for Shelter Box, an organization based out of the United Kingdom that dispatches folks into areas that need immediate help.

"In this case it happened that it was Sunday afternoon or Sunday morning that he spoke to me from the UK in the morning and I was on a flight at 2:30 in the afternoon."

Mackey is one of 50 members of Shelter Box (www.shelterbox.org), an organization that works to restore the dignity of people who are in a disaster. Mackey is the only local member of the group and since joining, he averages three trips a year at about two weeks per trip.

"I've been on eight trips. Mexico, Bolivia, Belize, Sri Lanka, Haiti twice, and Africa (just to name a few)."

Shelter Box is different from most organizations. They provide boxes to families in need. The boxes have a 10 person tent, bed pads, sleeping blankets, water purifiers and other necessities.

"Everybody has great visions of what it's like to help somebody, but when you hand that box to a mother with four or five children, you have your answer right there when she's looking at you."

Mackey just returned from a two week trip to Haiti and is ready to go back if needed, but hopes that call never comes.

"I hope there never is a next. We never want another disaster."

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