Local woman helps hurricane victims in Haiti

SAN DIEGO -- A Fallbrook woman has returned from her rescue efforts in Haiti following the devastation of Hurricane Matthew earlier this month. She and a team are now set to return in November, but needs help from the community.

“You know the children, they’re malnutritioned, their bones are showing. They’ve been through such devastation, but they smile and they give us their last piece of bread to feed us and it’s just not right,” said Rena Salomon.

Salomon wants to make a difference. She’s better known as the “Angel in a Hummer” for her humanitarian work after Hurricane Katrina, when she and her team rescued 115 people.

Now, she and a different team of volunteers have just returned from a new mission in Haiti. They helped the people living in Jeremie after Hurricane Matthew ripped through their village, leaving them in devastation.

“We went in there specifically to do search and rescue,” said Salomon.

Salomon says in the end, they helped 125 people, then began rebuilding homes and an orphanage that housed 50 children.

“The structures -- almost 80 percent of them -- were built with stone walls and metal roofing which, with 140 MPH winds, those roofs were gone and dilapidated,” said Salomon.

Spending almost $25,000 of her own money as a general contractor to rebuild, she eventually ran out of funds, but says the job is far from over.

“My next mission is to raise as much money as I can. We are hoping to raise about $100,000 and replace at least 20,000 roofs with that money. Eighty percent of Jeremie has been demolished,” said Salomon.

Salomon also needs volunteers, especially those familiar with construction or those willing to learn.

“I build homes, so instructing a team and training a team of volunteers that mean well, that have the heart and the courage to go, I can do just as much with them,” Salomon said.

To contact Salomon or make a donation to Operation Tin Roofs, click here.