A gay couple, Luke Montgomery and Nate Gudias, have set up a website that documents their work after the earthquake in Haiti, CauseCommandos.com.
Montgomery has sent us a few pictures from Jacmel, Haiti, as well as the following news release:
Jacmel, Haiti - February 11, 2010 – A gay couple running emergency medicine, food and tents into Haiti by boat has taken their mission online to the Internet and launched CauseCommandos.com to rally support from the gay community. The site allows supporters to watch video of the duo in action and contribute directly to buy emergency supplies.
When disaster struck the impoverished island nation of Haiti, it also struck close to the hearts of boyfriends Luke Montgomery and Nate Gudias. Having lived in Haiti and founded an AIDS orphanage in the coastal town of Jacmel, Montgomery feared the worst when no word was received from the orphanage. Within 48 hours the couple raised over $10,000 from family and friends in the gay community and were on a plane bound for the Dominican Republic which borders Haiti. When news reached them that children in the AIDS orphanage were unhurt but that the local hospital had collapsed on its patients the couple says they were transformed into "cause commandos" with a mission to get medicine and medical supplies to survivors.
Luke Montgomery says, "We're on a mission to help as many people as we can with medicine, food and tents for shelter. We're buying the supplies across the border in the Dominican Republic and running them by boat into the parts of Haiti that aid is still slow to get to. When a country is as poor as Haiti was before the quake, even the biggest relief effort is not enough. So we're stepping up to the plate and hoping that the gay community can join us."
"We're not disaster aid professionals but we just had to take action, so we simply got on a plane. After landing in the Dominican Republic we went to local medical supply stores and pharmacies and loaded up on antibiotics, prescription painkillers and other essentials from bandages to baby formula, from IV fluids to injection syringes. We crammed every inch of our big rented SUV full of supplies and every bag we had was overflowing with urgently-needed drugs. We then drove all through the night to the Haitian border. There we hooked up with the Dominican navy. We loaded our all of our supplies onto a relief ship and set sail for Haiti and have been running back and forth ever since." added Nate Guidas.
Armed with just a digital camera, two laptops and the hope that if they could get their message out on the Internet others would join their effort, the pair created the website and video while at sea on the decks of relief ships and in the disaster zone itself. "There are still families and handicapped people sleeping on the streets who need tents. There are still thousands of hungry children who have no food. There are still injured people with no medicine. What we are doing is simply buying what's needed and getting it the people who need it. What we need to make it all happen is for people in our community to spread the word about CauseCommandos.com and give if they can. Our costs are covered, so 100% goes to supplies for survivors.", Montgomery said.
The couple hopes to not only inspire support for their mission, but to also show that ordinary people can make a difference even in the face of an extraordinary disaster. "We're not some big aid organization, we're just two gay dudes on a mission and love that we have the chance to help others at a time like this." Guidas said.
Video can be seen at: CauseCommandos.com
Luke Montgomery is a former AIDS and gay rights activist best known for his highly-publicised interruption of President Clinton's 1993 World AIDS Day speech and legal name change to "Luke Sissyfag" in the 1990's.