Former Supreme Secretary made helping children of Haiti a priority
A fully-equipped prosthetics and rehabilitation clinic established with funds provided by the Knights of Columbus was dedicated to the memory of Emilio Moure, the former Supreme Secretary of the Knights who died of cancer in July 2011.
In the aftermath of the devastating January 2010 earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, the Knights of Columbus quickly worked with the American Wheelchair Mission to arrange a shipment of a thousand wheelchairs for Haitians who had become disabled because of injuries suffered during the quake. The initial shipment of wheelchairs were distributed at the field hospital which had been set up in Port-au-Prince by Project Medishare for Haiti, founded 15 years earlier through the efforts of physicians at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine.
Supreme Knight Carl Anderson was impressed with the exceptional work being done by the Project Medishare volunteers, and asked Supreme Secretary Emilio Moure, to explore ways in which the Knights might enable them to move beyond immediate urgent care to a long-term effort to help the people of Haiti overcome the terrible impact of the earthquake. Moure, who was born in Cuba and retained a strong commitment to the peoples of the Caribbean throughout his life, asked Dr. Robert Gailey, the physical rehabilitation specialist at Project Medishare, “What else can we do?”
Haiti’s needs are so great that it is hard to know where to begin. But Dr. Gailey, who has worked with the physically disabled throughout his professional career, suggested a plan that would quickly benefit some of the most helpless victims of the earthquake: children who had lost limbs. Moure pledged the support of the Knights for a program that would provide every child who had suffered an amputation because of the earthquake with prosthetic care over the next years. The program, “Healing Haiti’s Children,” commits $1 million to providing each of the children with prosthetic limbs and a program of physical therapy as well as replacement prosthetics as the child grows.
The Knights provided funding for the construction of a complete prosthetics and orthotics facility at the Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare in downtown Port-au-Prince, now the only such unit in the country. Today, the Emilio Moure Clinic for Hope is being dedicated to the memory of the Knight whose efforts and devotion were the key to its being built: Emilio Moure died in July 2011 after a long battle with cancer.
So far, Healing Haiti’s Children has provided prosthetic limbs and orthotics to more than three hundred of Haitian children since it opened in March 2011, as well as jobs for Haitians who have been trained to fabricate the limbs and provide rehabilitation therapy. It now includes a school for Haitians studying to become prosthetic and rehabilitation technicians.