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Local man in Caribbean but visit is no vacation

Local man in Caribbean but visit is no vacation

Posted: Thursday, February 11, 2010 9:15 pm
By: John Brannon Messenger Staff Reporter

 By JOHN BRANNON

Staff Reporter

Weather-wise, Bobby Wyatt of Union City went from one extreme to another — from snowy northwest Tennessee to the tropics. Overnight.

“It’s about 105 degrees here,” he told The Messenger during a brief phone call from Haiti earlier this week.

He and a group of professionals activated by the federal Department of Homeland Security are on a mission of mercy to help the Caribbean nation rebound from a devastating earthquake Jan. 12 and dozens of aftershocks since then.

He arrived in Haiti last week.

A licensed funeral director, he is working mortuary services during his deployment.

He said a recovery operation is “up and running” with a base of operations established alongside a runway at Port Au Prince airport. 

“Counting medical people and communications people, our group has about 80 members,” he said. “We live in big tents and we have makeshift showers. We’re doing OK.”

Yes, but what are they eating? What’s on the menu?

“MREs,” he said.

MREs? Yes. As in “Meals, ready to eat,” individualized packets of various goodies such as pork ’n’ beans and Spam™ and crackers. MREs evolved from what was known as “C-rations” of yesteryear.

 “Yeah, C-rations is what we had when I was in the (military) service,” said Wyatt, 59.

The Messenger asked  Wyatt’s wife what his favorite food is.

“His favorite food is food. About the only thing he won’t eat is tomatoes and turnip greens,” she said. “I packed a lot of stuff like nutrition bars in his bags before he left. He called yesterday and said, ‘We need some real coffee over here.’

“So Bill and David Flood of JT Distributors are sending him some coffee.”

Wyatt has a cell phone but calls placed from here won’t go through. Mrs. Wyatt said he calls home via satellite communication and she likes it when he does.

“Oh, yes, I miss him. I missed him the day after he was gone,” she said. “Weekends and nights are the worst for me. He was deployed after Hurricane Katrina hit and was gone four months. I can stand this one a while.

“I am very proud of him,” she said.
Published in The Messenger 2.11.10

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