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S. Colonie teacher wraps up relief work

Saddlewood Elementary School teacher Kathy Tockmakis did not spend her February break relaxing on a beach.

She was in Haiti with her husband, George, a missionary, helping the thousands of victims of the January earthquake.

She said was inspired to help after seeing the pain the earthquake caused.

I was moved to tears seeing the devastation and destruction when the earthquake hit on Jan. 12, Tockmakis said. "I just knew I had to do something to help."

According to the school district, Tockmakis and her husband spent Valentine's Day at Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital. They stayed in an orphanage with a family that was adopted by an Albany resident. While there, Tockmakis did manual labor in addition to bringing the supplies.

"I felt like I had been plucked off this planet and placed on another," she said. "There was no water and there were no roads. It was surreal to say the least."

She brought food, clothes and water purification, as well as other supplies.

"We did what we could in the small amount of time we had. If everyone just did something small, donated a tube of toothpaste, it would make the world a better place to live," she said in a statement. "The important thing for Americans to remember is that in a couple of weeks, the earthquake will be old news to them. But for the Haitian people they will be living this nightmare day in and day out for many years to come."

The district also lent a hand by hosting a basic needs drive along with the Village of Colonie.

The South Colonie Central School District and Village of Colonie concluded a two-week collection of goods for victims of the massive earthquake in Haiti on Monday, March 1. The drive started on Feb. 10 and ran through Feb. 24.

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