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10th anniversary of Haiti earthquake remembered at Lynn University in Boca Raton

Posted at 4:32 AM, Jan 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-13 04:33:50-05

BOCA RATON, Fla. — It was 10 years ago Sunday that a massive 7.0 earthquake rocked Haiti, claiming hundreds of thousands of lives, including six people from Lynn University in Boca Raton.

January 12, 2010, was a day some have called Haiti’s darkest.

The powerful quake leveled homes, buildings and claimed hundreds of thousands of homes.

Haiti is a country that's continuing to rise from the ashes as efforts to rebuild continue.

“There is potential. There is the possibility to see a better future and a brighter tomorrow,” said Boynton Beach city commissioner Christina Romelus.

“Haiti still has and will always have a future,” said Port-au-Prince Deputy Mayor Kettyna Bellabe.

The delegation of Haitian mayors visited Palm Beach County to recognize the anniversary.

Conversations about sustainability led to a tour of the Solid Waste Authority and a chance to learn best practices.

“We have too much trash, and coming here and going through this tour, let us know that we’re not there yet,” said Bellabe. “We're actually watching it evolve right now.”

Lynn University also paused for a moment of silence to remember the earthquake that claimed four students and two professors, including Britney Gengel, who was missing in the rubble for 33 days.

“She was fearless. She had a great faith,” said Britney’s father, Len Gengel.

Ten years later, Britney’s commitment to empower students lives on.

Her family spend two years constructing a 19,000-square-foot orphanage in Haiti in her honor.

More than five dozen children live there today.

“Our kids are going to compete on a global level because of technology. They’re going to compete with India. They’re going to compete with the Philippines,” said Len Gengel.

“There’s a lot of obstacles, and there’s a lot of challenges but just don’t give up,” said Bellabe.