Wheels keep turning to help people in Haiti

Even after the death of Rev. Bernard Reiser, the wheels keep turning in support of Reiser Relief, Inc. and its projects in Haiti.

Rev. Bernard Reiser was the founding force behind Reiser Relief, Inc. Photo submitted by Doris Schulte

Rev. Bernard Reiser was the founding force behind Reiser Relief, Inc. Photo submitted by Doris Schulte

The annual Keep the Wheel Turning fund-raising event for the non-profit organization is set for Tuesday, April 24 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at The Courtyards of Andover, 13545 Martin St. N.W., Andover.

Reiser Relief, Inc. works to improve the lives of those living in Haiti.

While the main purpose of the Keep the Wheel Turning event is to provide funds to further the work of Reiser Relief, Inc., this year’s event will take on extra meaning as a way to honor the organization’s founder, Reiser, the founding pastor of Church of the Epiphany, Coon Rapids, who died Dec. 27, 2011.

“We’re thinking this is more of a legacy or a tribute in honor of him,” said Doris Schulte, Reiser Relief, Inc. vice president. “He’s there in spirit.”

Schulte said there was some apprehension about the future prior to the first meeting the board of directors following Reiser’s death.

Reiser Relief, Inc. helps get children water and school. Photo submitted by Kim Maciej

Reiser Relief, Inc. helps get children water and school. Photo submitted by Kim Maciej

Any doubt quickly subsided, though.

“There was so much excitement,” Schulte said. “I know Father (Reiser) was in the room.”

“He’s gone from our lives, but he’s hovering over us and listening to us and watching over us.”

Reiser founded Reiser Relief, Inc. following a 1996 trip to Haiti.

According to the organization’s website, Reiser described it as “the most emotional trip I have ever experienced.”

Nothing Reiser had seen in other parts of the world compared with the realities that greeted him in Cite Soleil, a slum of Port au Prince.

“As I left the island, there was a burning in my heart and soul that I needed to do something to make a change in as many of these people’s lives as possible,” Reiser is quoted as saying on the website.

In 2011, the organization provided monthly support for daily fresh water deliveries in Haiti; paid teachers salaries to Reiser Heights and Terre Promise schools; made a $10,000 donation to Mother Teresa’s Missionary Sisters of Charity in Haiti; made a $35,000 donation to Feed My Starving Children, which provides 145,833 nutritious meals to be shipped around the world; and purchased a used water truck, with shipping costs to Haiti, for fresh water delivery.

Goals for 2012 include continued monthly support for daily fresh water deliveries in Haiti; paying teachers salaries at Reiser Heights and Terre Promise schools; building a water cistern for Terre Promise School; and donating to the Grace Village Tilapia fish farm project.

The Keep the Wheel Turning event will include a silent auction and raffles.

There will also be a live auction, including some of Reiser’s personal possessions and four autographed copies of his book, “Reiser’s Ramblings.”

“They’re pretty precious with his signature,” Schulte said about the books.

The Sherwin Linton Band and Must Be Brass, which includes Epiphany School’s music director and her family, will also perform.

For more information about Reiser Relief, Inc. or to make a donation, visit www.resierrelief.org. Donations can also be sent to PO Box 48096, Coon Rapids, MN 55448.

Kelly Johnson is at kelly.johnson@ecm-inc.com


up arrow