Those who are closest to Walt Ratterman, the Washougal man who has been missing since the Jan. 12 Haiti earthquake, believe he is alive. Friends, colleagues, and others are willing to do most anything to find him, including digging through rubble and risking their lives.
Why? Because, they say, it’s the right thing to do, and it’s what he would have done for any of them.
Jeffery Bergman of Solarclinics, has several times visited the jungles of Eastern Burma along the Thai border on humanitarian projects with Ratterman, electrifying jungle clinics with solar panels. Bergman wrote to me from Bangkok this morning saying, “I am frustrated, angry and disheartened to hear rescue efforts are winding down.”
“Losing Walt would be a great personal tragedy to his family and friends,” said Bergman, “the greater loss, in my opinion, is to those living in the poorest parts of the world who would lose out on Walt’s tireless efforts to improve their lives.”
The Oregonian received the following message from Jeanne Ratterman, Walt’s wife, “Walt is alive. We need to keep to focusing on that.”
Allen Keller wrote on the Walt Ratterman – Haiti Mission page, “This is so amazing! We are over 1200 strong in just a little over a week! Walt has an ARMY behind him! Hang in there buddy!”
Kelly Wright wrote, “Walt and his family are the reason I just started a facebook page – what a remarkable person he is. I have always looked up to him since I met him around 15 years ago. Be strong my friend.”
Ratterman’s friend, Country singer “Big Kenny“, is headed today to Hotel Montana to look for him. Kenny wrote on a blog today that he and ten doctors are on their way toward the border town of Jamini, where one hospital and triage has been set up by Aide Medicale Internationale (AMI).
Kenny described the casualties as heart-sinking, though outpouring of aid from around the word, he said, is nothing short of amazing, “Many on our same flight. Many on this bus with me. Love is flowing. That is good.”
Kenny said he heard a French girl was pulled from the Montana Hotel wreckage today alive. There are still seven search-and-rescue teams working there.
So there is still hope. This is one family and group of friends and colleagues who are not giving up on Walt.
Walt Ratterman, missing in Haiti: Search efforts may stop, family needs your help now
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Haiti Earthquake Update: Washougal man, Walt Ratterman, once thought to be found is still missing