SBD/Issue 94/Sports & Society

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  • Brandt Andersen Quietly Making A Difference Down In Haiti

    Andersen (r) Helping Rebuild Haitian
    Orphanage Destroyed In Earthquake
    With his Utah Flash in the midst of a four-game homestand last week, Brandt Andersen quietly slipped some 3,000 miles away to lend a hand in Haiti. The NBA D-League owner led a group of 16 doctors to the third-world country ravaged by one of the deadliest earthquakes in history. Andersen contacted the Mormon Church soon after the devastation to see if he could be of any assistance. “Because I speak three languages and know some people in the UN,” he said, “it was a good fit.” Once on the ground in Haiti, Andersen helped organize the group of physicians organized by the Church -- where to go, what to do -- in addition to handling the receipt of shipments of aid.

    A SHOCKING SIGHT: “I think it’s probably pretty brutal even when there’s not a disaster like this,” Andersen said of Haiti. “It’s a true third-world country. I’ve been in a lot of places, but the quality of life is as low as you can get. … It’s an incredibly difficult place to be right now. It’s devastating. There’s sadness and death everywhere.” Andersen’s group arrived in Haiti within the first week after the earthquake struck, when disrepair in the county seemed almost irreparable. “There were still dead bodies in the streets,” he said. “There were still people dying everywhere.”

    TEAM REBOUND: Now back in Salt Lake City after his seven-day visit, Andersen remains just as committed to providing aid to the country. The Flash raised about $18,000 at their home game on Monday night, with all contributions going toward the construction and operation of an orphanage in Haiti. While in the country, Andersen and a friend found the orphanage, which he said is “off the beaten path” and “not what you would consider a commercial orphanage.” The facility was destroyed in the earthquake, and Andersen promised the director he would build a new center. “We hope to go under construction in the next couple of weeks,” he said. “I felt connected to these people down there. They’re beautiful people.” Andersen at the moment is active in the design process, and said his commitment to the orphanage is “something longer term” than just building it. “We can’t just build it and then let them be on their own,” Andersen said. “We intend to help with resources: computers, supplies and maybe even a basketball hoop or two.”

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