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Elmsford Trustee Volunteers Abroad in Haiti

ELMSFORD, N.Y. - When Elmsford Trustee William Zimkin served in Vietnam he witnessed many people living in deplorable conditions.

During a trip to Haiti in January where he joined a few of his military buddies helping with the construction of a teaching hospital, Zimkin had somewhat of a flashback.

"The people who live in Haiti don't live any different than the people I met 40 years ago in Vietnam," Zimkin said. "It's sad. They've got nothing down there."

Zimkin, a retired IBEW Local 3 electrician, will be returning to Haiti the second week in March for another seven days volunteering his talents as the 320-bed, state-of-the-art medical facility in Mirebalais, which is about 30 miles from the heart of where the devastating earthquake struck two years ago, nears completion.

The 7.0 earthquake killed 316,000 Haitians and left one million people homeless, many of whom are living in tents. The six-building teaching hospital, which is being built through a partnership between the Haiti government and the non-profit group Partners in Health, is expected to benefit about 180,000 people when it opens this summer.

Partners in Health, which was started by Dr. Paul Farmer, makes it possible for Zimkin and about 60 others, many from Boston Local 103, to lend a hand.

"I think I got as much out of it personally as I did being able to give them my talent," Zimkin said. "I feel really good about it. I really do."

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