Helping hammers: Carpenters from the U.S. assist in building the new Zanmi Lasante (Partners In Health) hospital in Mireblais

Jan. 22, 2013--On January 12, 2010, a catastrophic earthquake hit Haiti, devastating an already impoverished nation. With much of the country's medical infrastructure destroyed, plans that were in place to build a 110-bed community hospital had to be revamped. The Ministry of Health, along with Partners In Health, launched a far more ambitious plan to build a 320-bed state-of-the-art teaching hospital in Mirebalais, which is located thirty-five miles north of Port-au-Prince in the Central Plateau.

Haiti's building industry, however, was simply unable to meet the needs of the new building design. Massive donations of time, materials and skills would be needed for the project to succeed. Union carpenters from New England and around the United States stepped up to do their part, helping to secure materials and volunteering to spend time in Haiti building the hospital and teaching Haitian workers valuable craft skills.

Construction began in July of 2010, it was the first major public project to start in the first year after the earthquake and has been the single largest employer in the region. The construction process alone employed upwards of 1,000 people. Completion of the project would not have been possible without the contributions of union carpenters and contractors.

A special thanks all of the members of the Carpenters Union who traveled to Haiti to volunteer on this project: Scott Berry, Local 111; Michael Biasella, Local 40; Eric Bickford, Local 2168; Joseph Bickford, Local 2168; Joseph Broderick, Local 535; Peter Carroll, Local 111; John Colbert, Local 40; David Cormier, Local 43; Michael Costello, Local 40; Jorge DeBurgo, Local 2168; Ryan Donovan, Local 2168; Hans Gabriel, Local 40; Michael Jacques, Local 2168; Steven Lavache, Local 40; David LeBlanc, Local 2168; Peter Leyden, Local 33; Bruce McKenna, Local 33; James Murray, Local 94; Mynor Perez, Local 2168; Michael Robinson, Local 210; Andrew Smith, Local 43; Timothy Sullivan, Local 24; and David Young, Local 2168.

Thanks to the following contractors who contributed to the project: Contract Flooring Installations, Mark Richey Woodworking and Design, Shock Brothers, Shawmut Design and Construction, Central Ceilings, H. Carr & Sons, John Moriarty & Associates and Cheviot Corporation.

View also: "I believe in health care as a human right," featuring Dr. Paul Farmer, 3 minutes.