WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Stuart Hirsch thrives during emergencies.
He’s the Director of Emergency Operations at St. Mary’s Hospital. But in his off time, he likes to respond to emergencies wherever they are — even hundreds of miles away.
He’s started some non-profit rescue groups that teach emergency medical procedures. Those groups also help first responders and rescue crews.
Stuart has helped in Texas after Hurricane Harvey, in Florida after Hurricane Irma and he’s helped to deliver food to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.
Now, he’s in Haiti with another non-profit group he created called “Wings of Michael”.
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“One of our big things is to help train people in areas that have no rescue services at all,” Hirsch said. “No emergency medical services so they could rescue themselves.”
One way Hirsch spends his days is teaching Haitians how to apply a tourniquet to control bleeding. He’s taught adults and children.
News 8 asked him what he’s learned about the people of Haiti.
“Number one, they’re amazing people,” he said. “They are truly amazing. They are incredibly resourceful….In fact, they have a saying for everything that happens. They say ‘Bonji Bon’ or ‘God is good.’ They believe that no matter what happens, they will get through something. That’s the amazing spirit of the Haitian people.”
That description is a far cry from the expletive President Donald Trump allegedly used at The White House to describe Haiti and countries in Africa.
“They were so upset by that comment,” Hirsch said. “They felt that it didn’t honor them as a people and who they truly were…They were confused by it. They were just confused that he would say something like that.”
But, through his work in Haiti, Hirsch hopes to show off the best of American compassion.
“We’re always ambassadors for America when we’re doing this work,” Hirsch said. “Proud to be an American and proud to be here.”
He hopes any lingering pain in Haiti will heal.
“We can’t explain why that was said right now but we hear you, we hear what you’re feeling. But just know that we’re with you to be with you — to train with you — because we believe in you,” Hirsch said.