The 30-year-old Haitian has spent the last two weeks in Farmington studying advanced rescue techniques with San Juan College’s Fire and Rescue Sciences program.
He leaves to go back to Haiti on Sunday, and his goal is to bring American-style search and rescue to the small island nation.
No stranger to helping people, Emile was an HIV counselor prior to coming to the U.S.
He found his new path because of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010.
“I’m learning a lot here to help my country,” Emile said, standing on the edge of a 100-foot cliff in the Glades as he prepared to cross a rope bridge Friday. “I was in the street when it happened (the earthquake). It was like a big bomb, like Hiroshima. Babies, pregnant women, old people, I saw them all dying and I could do nothing but cry.”
Haiti doesn’t have its own search and rescue, or even an organized fire department, something that hit home for Emile in the earthquakes’s devastating aftermath.
When Emile returns to Haiti, he wants to start creating search and rescue infrastructure for the country from the ground up.