Flying over the city of Port-au-Prince on Saturday, all the Rev. Robert Butler could see was devastation. “Damage, damage, damage. Homes just demolished,” was the Rev. Butler’s description of what he saw looking out the window of a military helicopter.


 

Flying over the city of Port-au-Prince on Saturday, all the Rev. Robert Butler could see was devastation.


“Damage, damage, damage. Homes just demolished,” was the Rev. Butler’s description of what he saw looking out the window of a military helicopter.


The Rev. Butler, a senior priest at St. Agatha’s Church in Milton, was part of a group from the St. Boniface Haiti Foundation that arrived in Haiti last Tuesday, just before the earthquake. Also in the group was his brother, the Rev. Richard Butler, a senior priest at St. Mary’s in Brookline.


The group was making the 65-mile trip from the Haitian capital to the foundation’s hospital in Fond des Blancs when the earthquake struck. The Rev. Butler’s recollection was they hadn’t gone that far from the city.


“On the road, we all felt this rumble and the driver didn’t know if there was something wrong with the engine,” the Rev. Butler said.


They stopped and checked the engine, and then found out about the earthquake, he said. It was the largest to hit Haiti in two centuries.


When they arrived in Fond des Blancs, they found the hospital had sustained minimal damage from the tremor.


“When it first happened, a lot of people were in a state of shock,” the Rev. Butler said.


He said many people were fearful about sleeping indoors, fearing aftershocks would cause further building collapses.


The hospital was preparing to treat some of the victims of the earthquake, but not many have arrived.


The Rev. Butler was making his third trip to Haiti with the St. Boniface group. He was bringing supplies and planned to help out at the hospital.


During his stop in Port-au-Prince, he got to see some of the supplies that are pouring into the country.


He returned to St. Agatha’s early Monday morning, after a trip which took him from Fond des Blancs to Port-au-Prince, across the island of Hispaniola to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, to Miami and back to Boston.


“I just hope everyone can come together for the people of Haiti,” the Rev. Butler said. “Be as supportive as you can. The damage is devastating, and help is important.”


Fred Hanson may be reached at fhanson@ledger.com.