|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.