Defensive End, along with Teammate Pierre Garcon, Offer Aid for Nation Suffering Effects of Hurricane Matthew
WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 11, 2016) - Washington Redskins defensive end Ricky Jean Francois made a trip to his father's native Haiti on Monday to deliver much needed medical supplies to the country after it suffered the devastating effects of Hurricane Matthew. Jean Francois, who was joined by teammate and Haitian-American Pierre Garcon, represented the Redskins in this act of grace and kindness.
"This whole thing came together because of one phone call," said Jean Francois. "Dan Snyder called Pierre and asked him if we wanted to go down there. Pierre called me and we both agreed we needed to do our part to help what is going on in Haiti. We knew medical supplies were what they needed most, so we put a bunch of supplies from the Redskins facility together and jumped at the opportunity to take the trip down to help deliver it all."
Haiti has been suffering the devastating effects of Matthew after the storm made landfall on the country's southwestern coast last Tuesday. The Category Four storm is the region's largest in over a decade and has left at least 1,000 people dead as rescue workers continue to reach previously inaccessible areas. Approximately 1.4 million people are in need of emergency aid as a result of the storm, with one of the main concerns being the outbreak and spread of Cholera. The disease was brought to the nation after a devastating 2010 earthquake that left up to 200,000 dead and displaced close to 1.5 million people.
"Some of the hospitals had 15 beds inside just one room," said Jean Francois. "Hospitals that looked like they could only accommodate 100 people were crammed with 1,000. Many who needed immediate attention had to be turned away. One nurse we were working with told me those were the hardest decisions for her, turning someone in dire need away because they don't have enough space, medicine or doctors to go around. Seeing those conditions humbled me. People need to go there to help out, but also to see for themselves what a hard time really is. We're blessed here in the United States."
Jean Francois was one of the first athletes to visit the country and see the devastation first hand, however, both he and Garcon have performed charitable works for the country in the past. The eight-year pro was clearly moved by what he saw during his visit.
"It was overwhelming to see the response down there, all the different pieces coming together," continued Jean Francois. "We've come a long way since the earthquake in 2010. There's still so much work to be done, and this was a definite setback, but we know so much more about emergency preparedness now. We traveled all over Port-Au-Prince and other areas of Haiti seeing the people working to recover. We saw the people there grinding to get better.
"The Haitian people are all about survival and working hard to provide for their family. It's not about shiny things, it's about caring for those in your family and working hard every day to provide food, water and shelter. They need help right now though, and for those of us that are more fortunate it's about going back to do our part to help them when they're in need. Now is that time."
To contribute please visit www.projectmedishare.org and find out how you can assist in the relief effort.
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Contact: Kelly Swanson/Andrew Roberts, Swanson Communications, 202-783-5500