John Alex '89 in Haiti
Everyone who knows former Columbia football captain John Alex knows that he is just as much of an entertaining inspiration now as he was on the field.
I don't know how entertaining John is right now in Haiti, but he is there and likely cutting the tension with some good humor at just the right time as he embarks on a unique aid effort.
The following update on John's great work comes from his classmate, former CU QB Chris Della Pietra.
(Thanks to all the many football alums who alerted me to this effort).
Dear Columbia FB Alums,
As many of you know from prior emails, United Aid Foundation was formed by John Alex CC’89 in the aftermath of the Tsunami for the purpose of getting direct aid to people immediately without overhead, salaries, or bureaucracy based on the his experiences in Sri Lanka. John and his UAF Team found that it took too long for the big NGOs and Government to act while people who needed care and supplies suffered. During Katrina, John was able to get down to New Orleans before the NGOs and our government, and UAF was able to provide desperately needed drugs and supplies financed mostly by Paul Tomasi CC’90. The medical director of the United Aid Foundation is Dr. Domingo Nunez, who is a Columbia grad and former Columbia Trustee.
After the earthquake in Haiti, John immediately went down and ran convoys into Port au Prince with food and supplies, while also having donated medical supplies airlifted to the Jimani, the border town that was running a triage hospital for the wounded. For the past 3 days, Dr. Michael Vitale, Ana Lucia Associate Professor of Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery at Columbia University Medical Center and Chief, Pediatric Spine and Scoliosis Service at Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian, has been on the border with a team of doctors and nurses from UAF performing surgeries and post-surgery rehab. All accommodations and logistical assistance have been provided by Dr. Nunez. Dr. Vitale is considering today whether to cross the border into Haiti and establish a center in Port au Prince with the team. Dr. Nunez, meanwhile, is taking another UAF Team next week to Haiti, with John Alex in order to determine what areas still need basic essentials and medial assistance.
Columbia has stepped up in this time of crisis, and our FB alums have supported John and his UAF Team in many ways, including generous contributions, all of which go directly to support those in need and none of which goes to pay any overhead. We urge you to assist in any way that you can, and if you want to see your donations go directly to the front lines, please consider making an on-line donation through the UAF website - www.unitedaidfoundation.org
Thank you for much for your help, and God Bless John and his UAF Team for their courage and tremendous efforts to help as many desperate people in Haiti as possible. If you would like to contact John directly, his contact info is below.
Chris Della Pietra
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