WHEN AND HOW THE PROJECT BEGAN
- WHO'S WHO -

Dr. Robert Ford - In 2001 the Grison-Garde Community Committee, composed of 8 individuals, went to the Tovar Clinic in Grison-Garde and told them of the need for a school and orphanage. They came with a plan; a school for children whose families could not afford the $60/yr fees to attend other schools and an orphanage because of the high number of parentless children with no one to care for them. They asked for help in identifying individuals or Foundations who would be willing to invest in constructing the school and orphanage and provide funds for operations. At this meeting was Dr. Raymond Ford. Dokte Ray, as he is called by the Haitians, telephoned his father, Dr. Robert Ford (Bob), as he always did just to talk about his experiences at the Clinic in Grison-Garde. The topic of the Committee's visit was discussed. After some thought and discussion, in 2002 Bob underwrote the initial construction of the school and orphanage. Since then it has been supported by the Robert Ford Orphanage and School Foundation, a non-profit, secular, tax-exempt organization, headquartered in Charlottesville, Virginia.

    Bob was born in North Braddock, Pennsylvania, and after high school attended Pennsylvania State University where he earned a B.A. in Education. He taught Mathematics in the North Braddock school system and then entered Graduate School at the University of Pittsburgh where he earned a Ph.D. in statistics/social psychology. Subsequently, he matriculated as a faculty member at the University of Kentucky, the University of Alabama and Mississippi State University before settling at Vanderbilt University as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Sociology/Statistics. World War II came along and he served in Italy and the U.S. repatriating German P.O.W.s. After the war, he went to work at AT&T as Director of Man Power Utilization until his retirement.

    Bob's sense of humor was legendary and he possessed an incredible knowledge of our language and its nuances. He said that the best thing that happened to him in his life was funding the initiation of the School and Orphanage Project in Grison-Garde, Haiti, that bears his name.

Dr. Raymond Ford - "Dokte Ray", as he is affectionately called in Haiti, was born in Pittsburgh, PA as the son of "Bob" Ford. He went through primary and secondary schools in cities all over the Southern United States following which he earned a B.A. degree from Pennsylvania State University. He graduated from Duke University with an M.D., stayed on for his internship and residency, and became Chief Resident in Pediatrics. He subsequently served in the United States Army Medical Corps, followed by private practice as a Pediatrician in Charlottesville, Virginia until his retirement in 2004. He was a member of the Pediatric Clinical Attending Staff at the University of Virginia for a number of years.

    He has served as a volunteer Pediatrician in Nicaragua, Honduras, Jamaica, Belize and Haiti. For this volunteer work, he received several humanitarian awards, the most recent being the Duke University School of Medicine Humanitarian Award in 2006.

    He is Medical Director for the Haiti Mission which supports the Tovar Clinic in Grison-Garde, Haiti. He founded the Robert Ford Haitian Orphanage and School Foundation, named after his father, which supports the schools and orphanage in Grison-Garde. He is deeply involved in other projects such as the "Rita Christine Vocational School" and a project to provide food, shelter, and potable water for the homless elderly also in Grison Garde. Other projects on his plate are the Carmillot School and Tremesse School near Grison-Garde.

    Dokte Ray is an extremely vigorous and generous man. He has shared his talents, his humor, and love of his fellow man with many who join him on these humanitarian missions.