W. Wash. families desperate for word from loved ones in Haiti




Posted on January 13, 2010 at 5:48 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 14 at 7:25 AM

PUYALLUP, Wash. - Shon Otwell keeps busy working the showroom floor at Puyallup Nissan, but his mind is a continent away with his missing brother in Port-au-Prince. His last contact with his 40-year-old brother Robert came in the form of a text message at 5:47 a.m. Tuesday that read "I'm here at Miami International Airport. I depart for Haiti soon."

Robert Otwell travelled to Port au Prince yesterday, hoping to bring his Haitian wife to America. After four long years apart he was finally making headway and had a meeting scheduled at the U.S. Embassy for Wednesday. The trip was especially exciting for the entire Otwell family, as Robert had just beaten kidney cancer, as well.

"It's not fair at all," says Shon.

Dario Darius can't tear himself away from CNN. The news keeps coming, and so far very little of it is good. Darius works at Seattle's Starbucks headquarters and has dozens of friends and family members in the quake zone. For him, the waiting is the hardest part. In the meantime, he has set up a Facebook page for people to list the names of the missing and those who have been found.

"The people that are gone... it's horrible," he says, wiping away tears. "It's friends; it's family. Individuals you grew up with and they are gone."

For others, waiting simply isn't an option.

Josue Jean-Pierre heads an organization called Christian Church Ministries, which runs three schools in and around Port-au-Prince - some 2,700 children in all. He also ministers to about 65 Haitian families in Seattle and Portland.

Jean-Pierre is desperately seeking funding so he can go to Haiti himself and try to bring some peace to those suffering here in the Northwest.

"I pray God gives me strength in this circumstance and to stand behind them," he says. "We are all brothers and sisters."

You can contact Bishop Jean-Pierre at 206-331-5669.