Riots in Haiti delay Chattanooga group's trip to honor Chattanooga man
A group of people from Chattanooga was supposed to leave for a mission trip to Haiti on Tuesday, but had to cancel it because of riots in the country.
Terri Whiteside was one of the people scheduled to go on the trip. She was one of several members going with the organization "Hope for Haiti."
"Actually, I can show you. This was our first trip," Terri said as she flipped through old pictures in her living room.
Her album holds dozens of snapshots of when time stands still for a memory.
"So that's them working on the school," Terri said, pointing out a picture.
For Terri this photo album holds memories of trips to Haiti, a country she and her husband have been visiting since 2014. For the last five years, the couple took at least one trip to Haiti a year to help build a school.
"Actually this was the team last year,” Terri said pointing to a group shot. “So, that was our last picture together."
This year, will be Terri’s first year going alone.
Her husband, Chris, died last May, just three months after their annual trip to Haiti.
"He passed away suddenly,” Terri said. “One Friday we found out he had lung cancer. Three weeks later he had passed away."
In just three months, the Whiteside’s church, Hamilton Life Church, raised $25,000 to finish the school the couple helped start.
"He just fell in love with Haiti,” Terri said about her husband. “He truly loved going every year. We both looked forward to it."
A rustic plaque sits on Terri’s couch with a picture of Chris.
The school was just finished, but the plaque is the final touch. The school Chris put his hands on and poured his heart into will be dedicated to him.
"I can imagine us going back every year and seeing that plaque,” Terri said. “It just fills my heart with joy."
Dangerous riots in Haiti delayed the trip. But Terri makes it very clear, the trip to honor her husband and see the school is postponed, not canceled.
"It was both of our passions so I feel like he would want me to continue to go,” explained Terri. “That's what I'm going to do."
Stay with the WRCB app for updates to Terri's story.