Cookeville Woman Changing Lives In Haiti - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Cookeville Woman Changing Lives In Haiti

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by Janet Kim

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - A Cookeville woman won an international shoe drive in a Soles 4 Souls competition. It was the first time the winner was from the mid- state. As a result, Tracy Swack won a trip to Haiti.

The Haitian American Caucus in Port-au-Prince serves as a school and meeting place for kids, but on Friday this is where children received one of the most basic things they need: shoes and some of those shoes came straight from Middle Tennessee.

The volunteer work wasn't glamorous and not easy, but the volunteers said putting shoes on the feet of those who need is fulfilling.

"I knew when I got here the children would be smiling that they'd be loved," said Tracy Swack, a Soles4Souls volunteer from Cookeville.

It's why Swack said she wanted to be in Haiti. After collecting 75,000 pounds of shoes and clothes in the Travel4Soles competition, Swack won this trip, but her reward is what she'll give away.

"I wanted to give you his pair of shoes, so his spirit could come here," said Swack, as she gave a pair of her father's shoes to a Haitian worker, who is constructing on the school.

Swack's father died before the contest was over, but it doesn't mean he wasn't present.

"I'm happy to give them to someone who works hard," said Swack.

Hundreds of miles from home and worlds apart, they still understood each other.

"I couldn't understand a word he said, but I could tell the type of person he was," said Swack.

This may have been Swack's first trip to Haiti, but the Cookeville resident said it won't be her last.

The Haitian-American Caucus is partnered with Soles 4 Souls. It's a school and a social enterprise that is seeing exponential growth. This fall the school will go from 250 students to 400.


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