HEART OF GOLD
Megan Scott, daughter of Maj. Bruce Scott of the Program Executive Office for Aviation, holds a small child from the Canaan Orphanage in Montrouis, Haiti, about 45 miles northwest of Port-au-Prince. Scott and two of her schoolmates from Samford University were doing mission work at the orphanage when the 7.0 earthquake hit.

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Ever since Megan Scott was a little girl, she always had a heart for helping others. The middle child in the Scott family, she never imagined that her heart for adventure would give her an experience she would never forget and take her to Haiti and one of the deadliest earthquakes in history.

Moving from place to place and being somewhat of a nomad was neither new nor frightening for Scott. After all, she is an Army brat and daughter of Maj. Bruce Scott, assistant product manager for the Light Utility Helicopters in the Program Executive Office for Aviation and an Army National Guard liaison officer.

Aca,!A"IAca,!a,,cve always wanted to travel and interact with people outside of the U.S.,Aca,!A? Scott said. Aca,!A"Moving around so much with my dad being in the military, I really enjoyed having new experiences.Aca,!A?

That love for travel led her to pursue national and international missionary work. One of her first mission trips while in high school was to Arlington, Texas. Last summer, Scott applied for a program called Youth Works and worked at the Lakota Indian reservation in South Dakota and was in charge of a childrenAca,!a,,cs ministry. Youth Works organizes and facilitates youth mission trips for the purpose of raising global awareness.

Scott, a junior at Samford University in Birmingham, is majoring in nutrition and dietetics. She is also a pre-med student interested in pursuing her medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine, the University of South Alabama, or the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

During her freshman year at Samford, Scott decided to do international work for the first time and went to Mozambique, Africa. She paid for her entire trip with the help of family and friends who helped raise money for the effort.

Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs good to be able to apply what IAca,!a,,cve learned in school and be able to help out others who are not so fortunate,Aca,!A? Scott said. Aca,!A"You see yourself as a global citizen and that everyone is equal and that theyAca,!a,,cre worth being helped. For my future and my career, I just want to help people as much as I can. Mission work is a great way to do that. ItAca,!a,,cs not like youAca,!a,,cre just going on vacation. YouAca,!a,,cre actually helping out.

Aca,!A"There is a great need for doctors and people with medical skills. ThatAca,!a,,cs why I wanted to go to medical school in order to help a lot of people. It is also a great way to connect with people.Aca,!A?

Haiti was ScottAca,!a,,cs second international mission trip, which she paid for all on her own. Together with two college classmates, Katie Snider and Anna McKoy, the three girls left for Haiti on Dec. 27.

The girls performed mission work at the Canaan Orphanage in Montrouis, Haiti, approximately 45 miles north/northwest of Port-au-Prince. They were due to return to the U.S. on Jan. 22. They soon would realize coming home would happen much sooner than planned.

Whether it was fate, chance or pure luck, one of ScottAca,!a,,cs Christmas presents from her parents was a new iTouch (iPhone). This new device would be the only means of communication for the family after the earthquake.

Aca,!A"I had never really thought of Haiti,Aca,!A? Aca,!A"I was really focused on faraway places like Africa and Asia.Aca,!A?

She quickly realized that Haiti is just as foreign and faraway. After hearing stories from her friend Snider who had visited Haiti just last summer, Scott decided she wanted to go and make it happen. Aca,!A"I knew I could get some experience on malnutrition. I had done a couple of projects in school, plus I would be able to apply what IAca,!a,,cve learned and learn new things in the process.Aca,!A?

The 7.0 quake, the most powerful to hit Haiti in a century, struck Jan. 12. The tremors were felt more than 200 miles away, as far as eastern Cuba.

Scott said she remembers feeling the earthquake and never imagined the severity of the damage it caused. Aca,!A"She had no idea of the scope of the earthquake,Aca,!A? noted her father, Maj. Scott. Aca,!A"She was more amazed than troubled by it.Aca,!A?

When Maj. Scott and his wife Jane first heard the news, they immediately turned on their computer knowing that if their daughter was alive and OK, she would post a message on Facebook. There was no phone reception, and texting did not work. It only took about an hour after the quake when they saw ScottAca,!a,,cs first posting telling them of the quake they just felt. Aca,!A"We all but cried,Aca,!A? Maj. Scott said. Aca,!A"It was the best news we could hope for.Aca,!A?

Scott and her friends learned from her father just how serious the earthquake was and quickly assessed their situation. There were more than 100 people in the orphanage, and they were already starting to ration power, which was fueled by diesel, to two hours a day. This included rationing their usage of the water purification system and food. They quickly realized that their situation was more than status quo.

As any parent would have done, Maj. Scott began to make phone calls and worked with the Puerto Rico Army National Guard while keeping his chain of command informed of the situation. He was instructed that he needed to submit a mission request to start the process of determining resourcing and mission priority in order to extract the girls from Haiti. After the National Guard verified that all the information Scott provided was correct, they assessed the immediacy of extracting the students. Using Google maps and Facebook, Scott was able to show his daughter how and where to set up a landing zone providing her with the latitude and longitude in a flat area where the Black Hawk could land.

Aca,!A"The LZ was marked well enough,Aca,!A? Maj. Scott said. They did a thorough job of providing the details of their location to him which he relayed to the National Guard. The girls were extracted via Black Hawk from Montrouis and flown to Port-au-Prince, one of several missions being flown that day. Aca,!A"Their flight was in conjunction with other missions they were already flying,Aca,!A? Maj. Scott said. They were then flown via Black Hawk to the Dominican Republic where they were processed through the evacuation center and spent the night. Scott and her friends flew via commercial flight the next day and landed in Atlanta on Jan. 17 where they were met by grateful parents.

The experience in Haiti did not dampen any of the girlsAca,!a,,c spirits of continuing to do mission work. Aca,!A"I want to continue these mission trips for the rest of my life,Aca,!A? Scott said. She hopes to someday be able to live internationally.

Aca,!A"I donAca,!a,,ct regret going to Haiti. It was definitely an adventure. Looking back at it, IAca,!a,,cm glad I was there and able to come back to tell my story and tell everyone about the people there. I want to raise awareness of the Canaan Orphanage where I was at,Aca,!A? she said.

Scott said she hopes more young people will take an interest in missionary work and find it fulfilling and rewarding as she has.

Aca,!A"They might have a lot less and have more problems, but theyAca,!a,,cre still the same. They feel the way we feel and have hopes and dreams. It took an earthquake for people to know Haiti,Aca,!A? she said.

Aca,!A"IAca,!a,,cm still a parent,Aca,!A? said Maj. Scott. Aca,!A"We donAca,!a,,ct discourage her, but we make sure she is aware of the risks. But I am very proud of my daughter.Aca,!A?

Page last updated Fri February 5th, 2010 at 13:03