WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The images are still burned in the minds of millions of people, the earthquake that destroyed Haiti and killed thousands of people. A local business owner has worked for the past year to rebuild the devastated country.
Wallace Vanhoy has sent 60,000 thousand pounds of steel to Haiti since the earthquake hit, but his gesture is providing a foundation for more than just walls.
What was once piles of steel in Wilmington is now an orphanage, a medical clinic and a center for volunteers in Haiti.
"What we are doing is giving them something they have not had before which is very stable structures to live in and work in," said Vanhoy. He says the conditions in Haiti are still horrible.
"There are tens and thousands of people living in tent cities with no sanitary provisions and there are still people living on the street," said Vanhoy. The 60,000 pounds of steel Vanhoy sent to Haiti did more than just anchor new buildings, it's providing security and safety for people who use them.
"The construction they had before was a weak block and then concrete roofs, and so when the ground shakes they fall in," said Vanhoy. "Most of the people that were killed were in those buildings when they fell in."
Vanhoy sent more than just building material, he turned the disaster into opportunity, employing dozens of local Haitians to help build the new structures.
"One man came up - he put his arm around me - and said you have opened a door for me - you have taught me how to build a home," recalled Vanhoy.
Vanhoy says he is buying five acres of land to build a factory in Haiti, he says it will bring more jobs and more steel framed homes, to the people that live there.
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