NORFOLK (NNS) -- The Navy, like the United States, is host to a variety of cultures, nationalities, and backgrounds. The USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) is no exception.
Truman Sailor Personnel Specialist 3rd Class Emmanuel Beaubrun was born in Delmas, Haiti. He grew up on the Caribbean Island, and though he loved his country and his people, he dreamed of someday living in America.
"America is like Disney for a lot of Haitians," said Beaubrun. "I wanted to live here. America for me was, and is, the land to make things happen."
While growing up in Haiti, both of his parents lived and worked in the United States.
"My mother and father were here for awhile," said Beaubrun. "I visited Miami and New York once they immigrated to the States. I always thought that I might immigrate one day also, however, I was in school enjoying the island life.
"I grew in the capital Port-au-Prince, in a town called Delmas which is located about 6 to 7 miles east of downtown," said Beaubrun. "I loved this place. I remember almost everything about it."
Haiti is a country with a long history of natural disasters. It is a common pathway for hurricanes as they make their way into the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. Also, in recent years, deforestation has wreacked havoc on the landscape and Haiti has been host to a number of massive floods, claiming up to 3,000 lives.
On Jan. 12, as the 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Léogâne, a town 16 miles from the capital city, Beaubrun was on the phone with his cousin who lived in Port-au-Prince.
"I was on the phone with my little cousin Ananda when the earth started shaking," said Beaubrun. "She yelled and the phone cut off. 'Oh my God' was my expression."
Beaubrun later re-established contact with his family and was relieved to learn they were unharmed.
Beaubrun's fellow Sailors were also concerned after hearing about the catastrophe.
"My first thought was to get in touch with PS3 (Personnel Specialist 3rd Class) Beaubrun and find out if he had heard from any of his family," said Machinist's Mate 2nd Class (SW) Kelvin Hugley. "The next thought was wondering what I could do to help, so I got online and donated to the American Red Cross."
The Red Cross estimated three million people were affected from the earthquake. According to Haitian Communications Minister Marie-Laurence Jocelyn Lassegue, the government confirmed 230,000 casualties as of Feb. 9.
As relief made its way to the country, Beaubrun found solace in the Navy's involvement.
"The Navy's involvement in the relief efforts put me at ease," said Beaubrun. "Even though I wish to be on the ground helping, I can't. I know that the Navy will do all that it can to help. I have seen the Navy do things like that before, and I was very pleased.
"The Haitian people are survivors," said Beaubrun. "It will take time, maybe years, but with help, the Haitian people and Haiti could recover in a better position than they were a few years back."
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.