Sandy, Utah—Sandy resident, Joava Good says “Haiti made the Indonesia tsunami, Katrina and 9/11 look small by comparison.” In a presentation to the Sandy City Citizen Corps Council Thursday, March 11, entitled Church of Scientology Disaster Relief, she will share eight lessons learned in Haiti that can make all the difference in any future disaster. Good, a member of the Draper City Emergency and Advisory committee for the past four years calls Haiti “a real eye-opener” and “the worst catastrophe we’ve ever worked on.”
When she heard about the Haiti earthquake on January 12, Good contacted the Scientology Volunteer Ministers Disaster Response Coordinator in Los Angeles and was soon engaged in the extraordinary challenges of getting vitally needed medical personnel, supplies and Volunteer Ministers to Haiti. “It was daunting,” said Good. “Port-au-Prince was decimated—no power, no communications systems, no landing lights on the runway, only one runway open and that one in awful shape, all the planes were parked in the dirt, and no civilian flights were landing.”
Good called on her 23 years as a travel agent and travel agency owner to pull off the task. She found a company to fly first responders to Haiti at cost—a private aviation company provided the planes and the Church of Scientology paid for the fuel and expenses of disaster response personnel going on those flights.
With hundreds of thousands of Haitians injured, and countless lives depending on immediate medical care, the highest priority for Good and the Volunteer Minister team was to fill the planes with medical professionals and smaller support teams of Scientology Volunteer Ministers. Good put out a call for doctors, nurses and EMTs and the response was immediate. Dr. Edouard Hazel of the Association of Haitian Physicians Abroad said he had 65 doctors ready to leave at once. The Bedford-Stuyvesant Volunteer Ambulance Corps answered with a team of volunteers ready go, and nurses, sanitation specialists and a telecommunications specialist signed on as well. “Seventy percent of the passengers on our first charter flight were medical professionals,” said Good. The remaining seats were filled by Scientology Volunteer Ministers, trained in organizational skills that enabled the doctors to provide their life-saving skills once in Haiti.
Scientology Founder, L. Ron Hubbard, who also created the Volunteer Ministers program, gave it the motto “Something can be done about it.” “We live that motto, and it is really true,” said Good. “When one of our charter planes was leaving Haiti, we ‘rescued’ a group of doctors who had been stranded at the Port-au-Prince airport for 48 hours, flying them back to the United States on our return flight. One of them, a chief of surgery, asked me why the Church of Scientology was doing this. I told him our motto, and he understood. This is what we do. We fill in the gaps. You can operate on somebody and save his life—we provide support with anything you need in the hospital and give you a ride home. We find out what’s needed and wanted and that’s what we do.”
Good is the Utah Representative for the Churches of Scientology Disaster Response and special adviser to the National Director, Rev. Sue Taylor. Good is also a member of VOAD (Volunteers Organizations Active in Disasters), she is FEMA, Red Cross, and CERT trained, and is herself a CERT trainer. She has been an active Scientology Volunteer Minister for more than 30 years.