An eastern Iowa man returned to the state Wednesday after a week-long mission to help the people of Haiti.
Mike Deutmeyer owns the Weber Stone Company in Anamosa. He’s also a pilot and volunteered to load his company’s single engine turbo prop plane with aid items needed in small villages outside the earthquake damaged Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.
Deutmeyer was shocked when he approached the first landing strip, which was short dirt path.
See video of the landing here:
“The runway was covered with people, cars and animals,” Deutmeyer told Radio Iowa. “So, I made three passes around. I didn’t know if it was a runway. We just saw this open thing and thought if there’s going to be one, that’s got to be it right there.” Each takeoff and landing was extremely dangerous, but Deutmeyer completed 23 missions between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Deutmeyer was accompanied by his father, Frank, who lives in Florida.
“He’s 74-years-old and we ran 19 hours a day. It was quite a deal,” Deutmeyer said. The pair delivered over 40-thousand pounds of water, food, tents, medical supplies and generators to Haitian villages. The 46-year-old Deutmeyer says it would’ve been easier to write a check to a relief organization, but he wanted to do more.
“Writing a check, first of all, you don’t know where the money’s going. But I knew one thing, we were getting food to these towns, because my father and I were taking it,” Deutmeyer said.