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Track and Field to spend break in Haiti
Thursday, December 13, 2012
By Mark McGee
Track and Field to spend break in Haiti

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - It may be Christmas time, but giving knows no season for members of the Lipscomb Athletic Department.

Throughout the year mission trips are planned by various athletic teams. Thursday afternoon 15 members of the Lipscomb cross country and track and field teams and five others left for Haiti where they will spend a week working at the Cap-Haitian Children’s Home. The administrators of the home are Jillian and Hunter Kittrell, both from Nashville and graduates of Lipscomb University. Cap-Haitian is located on the north coast of Haiti.

Assistant coach Jenny Randolph was part of a mission trip to Cap-Haitian in August. She is anxious to make a return trip.

“Before we had even left in August we knew we wanted to come back,” Randolph said. “I can’t wait to hug all of those kids again.

“You really make relationships. Even though you are only there a week you become friends with these kids. Now with Facebook and things like this we can talk with them and keep up with them, but it will be awesome to see them all again.”

There is little time for relaxation. A number of activities are already scheduled. The area has sustained heavy damage from hurricanes this year.

“We will definitely do some construction projects,” Randolph said. “They had a lot of flood damage after the hurricanes. We will do whatever we can do to help get them back on their feet. We will also incorporate sports into the lives of the kids with a field day and soccer and basketball tournaments.”

The library at the orphanage was damaged by the hurricanes.  The teams have been collecting books for a couple of weeks for the children and will deliver those as part of the trip. The group will also carry supplies which will remain in Haiti.

“It is complete poverty outside the walls of the orphanage,” Randolph said. “The last time a typical day for us was to get up at 6 a.m. to run before breakfast. We ate breakfast and then started immediately on projects.

“The kids have a pretty set schedule. We ate dinner at 6 and after dinner we would play a big group game. The little kids have bedtime at 8:30 and the older kids go to bed at 10. We are out in the sun running around with the kids all day. We go back to our dorm, have a team meeting and devo and then everyone is immediately asleep.”

The athletes participating in the trip are Katie Bunker, Missy Dowd, Kellie Foley, Tessa Hoefle, Miranda Klein, Maggie Lawrence, Alex Newby, Lacey Printz, Brenna Thompson, Dani Walker, Laura Beth Westrate, Austin Casassa, Colin Dempster, Ryan Gadsey and Alexander McMeen

Steven Mason, strength and conditioning coach; and his wife Louisa Van Batavia Mason are helping to lead the trip.  Also going is Steve Hoefle, father of Lipscomb standout runner Tessa Hoefle.

Only five of the members of the mission team have been to Haiti before.

The group plans to spend Thursday night in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The flight to Cap-Haitian leaves at 6 a.m. Friday. The group returns Dec. 21.

Bill Taylor, head coach for the cross country and track and field teams, will be making his first mission trip to Haiti. In the past the teams have also been to Los Angeles and Belize on mission trips.

“We will be on the ground at the orphanage in the morning,” Taylor said. “I don’t know what to expect. You can’t put imagination with reality. I am trying to keep very open about everything.

“We have been meeting every Sunday to pray and work on preparations since September. I am excited. I want to get in there and serve God.”

Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.