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#5309: Retired dentist gathers goods for needy in Haiti (fwd)

From: nozier@tradewind.net

Retired dentist gathers goods for needy in Haiti
 By TOM HEINEN of the Journal Sentinel staff
 Last Updated: Oct. 13, 2000 (MILWAUKEE)

One Wisconsin man's dream, shared by friends and acquaintances, will
literally take flight next week when a U.S. Air Force Reserve cargo
plane carries tons of donated equipment and supplies to Haiti's poor.
Claude Carpenter of Fox Point, who orchestrated the collection and
airlift, had a longtime dentistry practice in Wauwatosa until he retired
last month. He is known for his warm smile, engaging French accent,
passion for social justice and empathy for people in need. While his
patients held their mouths open for examinations and dental work,
Carpenter often filled more than their teeth. They got an earful of his
comments and questions on topics ranging from human rights issues and
Roman Catholic Church matters to the politics and practicalities of
helping Milwaukee's poor. Carpenter was involved with several city
parishes and programs over the years, but impoverished Haitians remained
an abiding interest. For the past three years, by night and on days off,
he quietly collected everything from used  computer equipment to dental
equipment for Haiti from from patients, friends, churches and
businesses. Meanwhile, he continued his 11-year tradition of volunteer
dental work for one to three weeks a year in the mountains near
Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He set up a dental office there for his visits
and recruits dental professionals who are willing to volunteer there.

He chose Haiti partly because his native tongue, French, is spoken
there. He also was  influenced by Ronald Pruhs, an associate professor
in pediatric dentistry at Marquette University who has volunteered his
dentistry work at missions in many countries. Carpenter's humanitarian
outreach is rooted in lessons he learned as a youth in Paris during
the turmoil of World War II. When his family could not afford to get him
treated for pleurisy and malnutrition about 1940, an American attorney
working in Paris with the Red Cross paid for Carpenter's         
hospitalization. "I was very grateful because otherwise I might not be
alive," recalled Carpenter, 72, his voice breaking momentarily with
emotion. "I wanted to thank him, and he said, 'Oh, don't thank me. But
live what you believe. And if you believe that I've been good to you, be
good to others.' Carpenter faced another crisis some months later when
his father, a former American GI who stayed in France after the first
World War, was put in a concentration camp by the  Germans.
"I used to be in the Catholic Youth Movement when going to (school) over
there,"Carpenter said. "When they took my dad, naturally I was
devastated. And the group prayed with me and supported me and gave me a
sense of Christ as our brother."Carpenter's Haiti project generated so
many donations that the converted single-family home on W. Center St.
that served for years as his dental office became cluttered.
Doug Kubic, business agent and financial secretary-treasurer for Local
815 of the International Longshoremen's Association, arranged for
Federal Marine Terminals Inc. to donate warehouse space. For months,
union members volunteered their time to sort and package donations.
The 13,500-pound load filled more than a dozen truck pallets. It was
repacked onto three Air Force pallets by reservists at the 440th Airlift
Wing at Mitchell International Airport. The cargo is scheduled to fly to
Port-au-Prince next week. Much of the dental equipment from Carpenter's
now-closed office is in the load. He's sending larger items to the
Philippines, the native country of his wife, Marietta Advincula.
"I feel I am rewarded when I see somebody giving me a smile," Carpenter
said. "In Haiti, I  don't do too much. I come home. The ones who stay
there need to be given the hope to know that there are people who
support them."