Walkway adds safety for students


Imagine putting together a walkway made of steel and erected in a third world country.

That was the plan for a recent mission trip to was to Sonlight Academy in Port-De-Paix Haiti.

Having the right material and the right workers always seems to work out, even when part of the steel is on the bottom of the sea.

Ken Ashcraft (former owner of HAG Steel) in Rising Sun was onhand for his expertise with steel.

Roger Alexander (founder of Sonlight Academy) was there to help carry out his vision.

John Niehaus had the job of coordinating other groups with work on the water tower and basic school upgrades, as well as making sure the generators were working properly.

John and his wife Carmen (Alexander) live in Aurora during the summer months. The rest of the year, their home is Sonlight Academy in Port-De-Paix Haiti. John handles all the maintenance while Carmen is principal of the 330 student school.

Matt Lieland ,an excavating contractor for Angel’s Excavating LLC in Patriot, added welding to his skill set for his work in Haiti.

Lieland was part of the work crew that erected the new school (which was completed in 2012) including work after the 2010 earthquake

The beams were up and early arrival allowed for preliminary work to be determined for work to start on Monday morning.

Why a walkway?

Students must go from the old school to new building, often times in the rain with flooded streets and having to deal with traffic.

Tim Pfennig worked in the erecting of the new SonCenter church and Bible College. Tim Adams made a return trip to use his welding skills for the first time since erecting a water tower in 1999.

Early arrival on Friday, January 13th allowed for the unloading of supplies which had been scheduled to arrive before Christmas.

Mary Pfennig, Charlene Fancher, Karen Lovern and Gail Sams worked at doing an inventory of food. One can had no label but an expiration date of 2013.

Another project was the organization of the storage room which includes books and various decorations for the school year.

When not working on projects, everyone was able to spend time in classroom or with sponsored children for Matt, Karen, Kenny and Tim Hillman.

The group was able to visit and explore the country and enjoyed meals at Sonlight.