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Volunteers reflect on their mission to Haiti

Rochester, N.Y. -- Three days in Haiti, a life-changing experience. The group of 14 people who left Rochester Friday to help finish and dedicate an orphanage said they came back changed.

For the rest of the week, we will bring you stories about the work being done there by Intervol, Rochester General Hospital and Constellation Brands, but this is about the mission to Haiti in their words.

I had no idea what to expect," said Del Rollo with Constellation Brands. You hear the rumors and watch the news.

I thought I knew, said Dr. Richard Gangemi with Rochester General Hospital. When I got here, I was amazed by the abject poverty.

Despite the worst possible condition we could ever imagine, they have a meaningful life, said Hugh Thomas with Rochester General Hospital. They get up, they laugh, they sing, they smile, and thats remarkable.

Wendy Darneal with Constellation Brands said, They have nothing and they have each other. One little girl was braiding the other ones hair and she was licking it to make sure it sticks and I thought, 'How many kids would do that at home?

It made us feel good to help, but we also felt good about the people here, said Annie Kane, a volunteer.

Tom Kane with Constellation Brands said, If you can get the spark going and focus on a few small areas, that is where the inspiration comes from. It does count. It does matter.

I cant do anything about their future but we can make everyday, where they stay, better than it is today, said Gangemi.

Its nice to know that groups have stayed and are trying to make a difference, said Alex Frederick with Constellation Brands. Its important people dont forget.

To look at what weve done and see the progress is great, and sad is to be able to go back home and realize theres so much more I can do, said Ginny Clark with Constellation Brands.

Del Rollo said, My approach to parenting will be difference. I will focus on giving back not receiving.

And finally, through tears, Dr. Tom OConnor with RGH and Intervol said, Theres actually the sense of something happening here. Everywhere I go, very impressive. Its a privilege really.

It was emotional for all. Thusday night at 10 on FOX Rochester and 13WHAM at 11 house calls in Haiti. How local doctors and medicine are making a difference and how the local group is working to sustain their work after their return home.

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Washington Times