CLEVELAND — For more than two decades Governor Mike DeWine and his wife Fran have been visiting Haiti, working with a group that runs a school named for their late daughter Becky who was killed in a car crash in 1993 at the age of 22. DeWine was saddened when he learned an Ohio ministry was the target of these kidnappings but says the one thing that always struck him when visiting Haiti were the number of Ohioans there.
“There's no way to really keep track of how many are down there but a lot of Ohioans go to Haiti to help,” DeWine said. “And I think that's something to remember we have a lot of exposure a lot of Ohioans who are in fact in Haiti.”
"You know if you walked through it you could not believe the poverty, open sewers, no good water, just one problem after another and he started a school,” he said. “So what we have done is to help him raise money for him, given him money, connected him with other people that could help and he now he has I think about 6,000 kids in school and these kids would not be getting an education they would not be getting a good meal a day which is what he provides them.”
Education though is at times the easy part.
"Look it's a tough place to operate Fr. Tom, one of the things that he has had to do is to broker peace agreements between the rival gangs that run the Cite Soleil where his school is. You know he has to do that if he wants to keep these schools open,” DeWine said. “So he has to go deal with the gang leaders and try to figure out how he's going to bring peace so that he can educate these kids."
The governor says the unfortunate thing is the actions of the kidnappers will in the end discourage others who want to help the nation's poor from following suit. He prays for a peaceful outcome for all.
"These are people that went down there with no ulterior motive other than to help others I mean just think about that, that's why they went down there and now they have something like this happen it's just horrible."