Union College rescue group returns from Philippines - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

Union College rescue group returns from Philippines

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By: Bill Schammert

Recent estimates put the death toll from Typhoon Haiyan at more than 5,500 people.  It's an experience one Lincoln couple was face to face with for more than a week.

Aaron and Lauren Kent are teachers with the Union College International Rescue and Relief Program.  Along with Team Rubicon, they were the second disaster relief group on the ground in Tacloban.

"The terminal was completely smashed in, the front was off the building," Aaron remembers. "You could see the entire town had been damaged and were hit with that image the moment we landed."

The two specialize in search and rescue.  

"We had 10 people working in an E.R. that had walls missing, the roof was leaking all over us," Lauren said.

Aaron remembers the most gruesome part of the trip.

"There were still bodies in the streets and the recovery process is ongoing.  Actually seeing those bodies at this point in time; it was horrifying."

They brought back images and videos of their experience; hoping to share them with future students in the program.

The Kent's provided vaccines, helped anyone who was in need, but they weren't the only ones.  They say the Filipino people have an incredible resiliency.

Coming home just before the Thanksgiving holiday, they say everything is put into context.

"Especially this time of year, we tend to get so grouchy.  Just the perspective of seeing those Filipino families around the remnants of their home offering us water, sharing their supplies. It's a perspective altering experience."


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