Recently, our Palmyra students were honored to have Dr. Rodrigue Mortel share his life story with us. Our students were inspired by his talk and had an opportunity to interview him. The interview can be viewed from the link on this update.
Dr. Mortel is the founder of Les Bons Samaritains School in Haiti through which your generous support is providing state of the art technology for the school’s students. Dr. Mortel himself was born into abject poverty in Haiti. As a boy, his family was evicted from their tiny home because they could not afford the $4 monthly rent. Dr. Mortel’s mother told him that this indignity would never have happened if she had had an education.
Inspired by the words of his mother, he diligently overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to become a renowned surgeon, educator, scientist and humanitarian. He received his medical degree in Port-au-Prince and started his medical career in Haiti. From Haiti he practiced medicine in Montreal then moved to Philadelphia where he practiced at Hahnemann Hospital before moving on to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. From New York, he studied at the University of Paris and did medical research at Ligue National Francaise Contre le Cancer. He later settled in Hershey, Pennsylvania where he was a professor, cancer surgeon and researcher at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center. He became the first African-American, foreign educated department chair of a United States medical school. He became a national leader and contributor to his field on many levels throughout his career. In 1985, he received the prestigious and acclaimed Horatio Alger award.
While his medical expertise and accomplishments have touched and saved many lives, we believe his greatest accomplishment has been in the love, dedication and support he has given to the people of his native country. After building a home for his mother, Dr. Mortel endeavored to educate the poorest of the poor in St. Marc and the surrounding area by building Les Bons Samaritains School.
Dr. Mortel’s mother inspired him to accomplish great things and to make an indelible mark on the world. His contagious philanthropic spirit has inspired many to help bring his vision of educating the poorest of the poor to fruition. Our project has and continues to be inspired by his example. It is hard to imagine the powerful and boundless effect of a mother’s love. As Mother’s Day approaches, please consider honoring your mother or a special woman in your life through a donation to this project. Join us as we join Dr. Mortel in making a life changing difference in the lives of these Haitian children.
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Teacher / Project Director