The Order of Malta has donated to NOVA Hope for Haiti a reconditioned full-size school bus that was recently decommissioned from active service. This gift was made possible by G. Robert Reers, a Knight of the Order of Malta and coordinator of the Order of Malta School Bus Program that provides transportation vehicles to non-profit service organizations. The vehicle was provided as a gift by John D. Carr, also a Knight of Malta and the owner of the TransGroup, LLC, an umbrella company that owns and operates eight large school bus systems in New York State.
Not only was the 35-foot, 65-student capacity bus released in perfect working order, but the Order of Malta and Mr. Carr installed a full-length heavy-duty roof rack and access ladder made of enameled high-gauge stainless steel to transport luggage, equipment, medical supplies and medicines. Since the cost of shipping from Miami to Haïti is 68% less expensive that from Port Elizabeth, Mr. Corr’s son, Sean Corr, a Nascar racing driver for Empire racing, and two of his colleagues volunteered to drive down to Florida NOVA’s school bus and two additional ones being shipped to Honduras and Guatemala.
NOVA’s bus has arrived in Miragoâne, Haïti and is currently awaiting customs clearance. The vehicle will be an extraordinary help transporting volunteers on a five-hour trip from the airport in Port-au-Prince to southwestern Haïti where NOVA operates in the town of Cavaillon. On our May 2012 Mission alone we will save about $3,000.00 in vehicle rentals: long distance buses, daily tap-taps, and trucks to cart equipment and supplies. In addition, when the NOVA clinic is completed the donated school bus will provide transportation to and from the clinic for villagers residing in remote areas where currently several-hour journeys are made on foot.
The school bus is an incredibly useful asset that will make life much easier in Haïti for both provider and patient alike. NOVA Hope for Haïti feels deeply privileged that it was chosen to receive such a practical and significant gift and extends sincere thanks to the Order of Malta and its two Knights, Robert Reers and John Corr, and also to Sean Corr for making overseas transportation of the bus feasible for NOVA.
More photos will be loaded when this bus is full of 26 volunteers in just a week!