Nick O’Brien doesn’t have a medical background, but that isn’t stopping him from wanting to be a part of Team Broken Earth’s next group from western Newfoundland to go to Haiti this fall.
In fact, O’Brien, who is from Pasadena, is so interested in being a part of the organization that he wants to help even if he doesn’t make the team or to participate in other trips the Canadian medical relief organization makes.
O’Brien was one of four people who dropped by the cafeteria at Western Memorial Regional Hospital on Thursday afternoon during a meet and greet with Team Broken Earth founder and CEO Dr. Andrew Furey.
Furey is visiting the west coast this week to recruit members for the west coast team which will be led by Dr. Dave Thomas of Port aux Basques, with Sheldon Peddle of Corner Brook looking after logistics. He also wanted to raise some awareness of the trip that will help when the team starts to fundraise.
This will be the second team from western to travel to Haiti and Furey said they need about 15-30 people, and already have about 15 confirmed. The team will build on a general surgery hernia project and an orthopedic hip replacement project started by previous teams. The team will also address any trauma needs that are presented.
O’Brien is a human resources manager with Western Health. He had heard a little bit about Team Broken Earth in the past and about two months ago took in a presentation on the organization
“To see that such a gigantic project had grown out of Newfoundland and to see the good that they did, it just moved something in me and made me really want to help,” he said.
O’Brien thinks it’s amazing the organization can go to the places it does, like Haiti, and set up safely and do such amazing work.
He asked the question during the presentation if non-medical professionals can help. When he heard the answer was yes, he was hooked and made contact with the executive director the next day.
O’Brien said he could provide the team with operations, technical and logistics support.
Being a very versatile person he knows he could do anything they need him to.
“Seeing the world is something I’ve always wanted to do anyway,” said O’Brien, who along with his wife has visited 20 countries in Europe.
“And I feel like this is another way to see a different part of the world. And to see what we take for granted,” he said.
And he’s willing to use his vacation time to do it.
“I’d rather use it for a good cause than for just something selfish.”