Haitian orphans get a fresh start in Colorado | VailDaily.com

Haitian orphans get a fresh start in Colorado

Tom McGhee
The Denver Post
Guerdie Yamaguchi, 10, one of the 32 children from an orphanage in Port Au Prince, Haiti, who arrived aboard a United Airlines 757 jet at the Signature Flight Support hangar at Denver International Airport, Sunday, January 24, 2010, hugs her new aunt, Kathy Yau, as her mother Jane Yamaguchi, from Grand Junction, stands to the left. For the past 10 days, Gov. Bill Ritter has been leading an effort to get Haitian children who were in the process of being adopted by Colorado families out of earthquake-ravaged Haiti and into Colorado. Ritter dispatched a team of 35 Colorado physicians, social workers and other volunteers to Florida to help bring Haitian children to Colorado. Judy DeHaas, The Denver Post

Thirty-two orphans who were in the final stages of adoption when a powerful earthquake struck Haiti met their new Colorado families in a chilly hangar at Denver International Airport on Sunday.

Gov. Bill Ritter led the effort to bring the children, who range from 2 to 12 years old, to Colorado. He got help from United Airlines, which routed a 757 to Orlando, Fla., to pick up the kids free of charge.

The state paid for the mission with funds contributed by Richmond American Homes that had been set aside for humanitarian purposes, Ritter said.

The children arrived in Florida on Saturday on a U.S. military flight from Haiti, where they had been sleeping in tents since the walls of an orphanage crumbled in the Jan. 12 quake.

“For the parents and all of us who worked on this, it is pretty emotional,” Ritter said before climbing stairs to the jet where he greeted the children.

A team of 35 Colorado doctors, social workers and other volunteers accompanied the children on the flight and off the plane.

Some of the children had to be carried, while others walked the short distance across the tarmac to a hangar where family members waited.

Read more: http://www.denverpost.com/ci_14261006#ixzz0deiHAsTN

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