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Ripon-based Assist International making a difference in Haiti relief

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Ripon-based Assist International making a difference in Haiti relief

Four large sewage tanks in the Stockton Avenue warehouse are headed for Romania. Vice President, Communications Steve Savelich describes the size, weight and placement of the tanks.

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin


POSTED January 27, 2010 2:49 a.m.
RIPON — Ripon’s Assist International humanitarian relief distribution center – with headquarters in Scott’s Valley – is playing a pivotal role in the relief and rescue operations on the ground today in Haiti.

The group currently has a five-man relief, rescue and assessment team on the ground in the stricken Haitian capital looking forward to rebuilding efforts that will follow the devastation.  

The year-old 24,000-square-foot facility on Stockton Avenue south of downtown Ripon is stocked with everything from bassinettes to tennis shoes, water purification systems, x-ray machines and ultrasound equipment ready for shipment.
Ripon’s Ray Schmidt, assistant vice president of operations, spent the last four days in Florida organizing and staging a charter air shipment of 40,000 pounds of emergency medical supplies that arrived on Sunday.

The shipment is being distributed to Partners in Health in turn directed by the World Health Organization to serve as the primary coordinators of University Hospital.  Currently they have 20 operating rooms up and running – 12 functioning 24 hours a day across Port-au-Prince.

In a partnership with General Motors Corporation, Assist International is also sending medical equipment essential to saving lives and rebuilding the nation’s hospitals and clinics along with 10 solar powered water purifiers to help relieve the staggering demand for potable water.

The five-man team on the ground is led by San Jose Fire Department Battalion Chief Jim Stunkel who has led other international projects.  

“This is the most dire situation I’ve ever seen,” he said, having worked for decades as an emergency service responder.

Ripon’s Steve Savelich, vice president of communications, said, “The medical equipment will not only be invaluable to the tragic crisis at hand, but it will also provide long-term help for the people of Haiti and its health care system.

“Patient monitors, ultrasounds, mobile X-ray units and anesthesia machines will be working, saving lives and enabling healthcare professionals for years to come,” he added.

A part of the California-based team’s assignment in Haiti is to do the necessary reconnaissance which will produce an effective and sustainable strategy for assistance in the weeks and month to come, Savelich said.

The result of Assist International’s mission in Port-au-Prince hopefully will be the essential activity of rebuilding the country.  A leader in supporting a new infrastructure in power, water and construction in addition the installation, training and maintenance of high-tech medical project the Scotts Valley/Ripon firm is working to put the fingerprints of California and the U.S. on the needs of the world.

The humanitarian firm has effectively established countless partnerships throughout the country and the world – including Rotary International – that gives them support in continuing their series of missions set to make a difference in the world.

For additional information on the work of Assist International in Haiti and many other Third World countries, or to make a contribution visit Assist’s website: www.assistinternational.org .
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