I learned this week that a long-time friend of the mission, Tony Presindor, was killed in a motorcycle accident this July while I was out of the country. Many of you, especially long-time followers of the mission, will remember Tony or at least remember me talking about Tony with respect. Tony was one of the most hard-working and resourceful people I know.
Tony was the first filter technician trained by Tal and Adele back in 2001 when they first established Clean Water for Haiti. I met Tony when CWH was still working out of the YWAM base in Saint Marc. In that first year, Tal and Thony and their workers managed to install about 700 filters.
Unfortunately, somebody got upset with Tony and shortly after I started with CWH in 2003, an assassin shot him as he came in to work early one morning. It was the start of a very hard day for Tal and Adele and I. Because of us not knowing much about the Haitian medical system, Tony nearly bled to death awaiting treatment. It took over 24 hours to get Tony the operation he needed to save his life. Not many people can survive 3 shots with a 12 guage.
Tony’s shooting could have ended the mission in Haiti if circumstances had been a little bit different and Tal prudently decided to have Tony work exclusively on his own in Saint Marc because of the obviously hostile attitude of the Pierre Payen locals towards Tony. He continued to build filters and drill wells, however, and Tony never had a day he wasn’t busy.
By the end of 2004 Tal and Adele had returned to Canada and left me here as director of the mission. There was a nasty flood in September of that year which killed 3000+ people in Gonaives. In addition to destroying many people’s homes, the flood also filled all of their wells and latrines with mud. The water situation was disgusting and we decided to do our part to help. After a false start, Tal pointed out that Tony was the best choice to run such a project. He did everything, including setting up a production yard, hiring 30+ employees and pouring 18 molds each day TWICE. In a very short time, his crew installed some 3000 filters in Gonaives. The project had its issues, but the fact is that Tony had pulled off something that seemed almost impossible.
The Gonaives project ended up being a huge boost to our reputation because it gave us a reputation for getting the job done, and we have been growing ever since. I think we owe a lot of that to Tony.
I just went through all of my photos and I don’t have any of Tony. If someone out there has one, please email it to me.