Albany man survives Ecuador earthquake, stays behind to help

LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – An Albany man is in Ecuador where an earthquake killed hundreds, and now he’s helping those affected.

Eden’s Rose Foundation is a local non-profit based in Latham that provides basic needs to people in third world countries. In some cases, the organization teaches women how to make bracelets, which they sell at fundraisers.

Currently, the founder is in Ecuador and was part of the massive earthquake that hit over the weekend. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake claimed over 500 lives and is the deadliest Ecuador has seen in decades.

Greg Sheldon, of Albany, was visiting the country when a building collapsed around him. He escaped and called his wife, Jodi Scott, who was expecting him home the next day.

“It was breaking up, and he said, ‘Emergency,’” she recalled. “And I was like, ‘I don’t understand what you’re saying,’ and he was like, ‘I just need you to know I’m okay.’”

The family has a daughter and a baby on the way, but instead of coming home, Sheldon began helping. He worked with the army to distribute water and even pulled people from the rubble.

“He’s, like, ‘At least I feel like I saved a lot of lives, and I was really blessed that I was here,’” Scott said.

All the while, Sheldon documented his experience. He also sent an update Thursday night. His family spends a lot of time in Ecuador for their non-profit and then sells the products in the United States to raise money.

“My life, his life, especially, has a lot of meaning because we can see the direct effect that we’re making on other people,” Scott said.

Instead of wishing her husband were back in the Capital Region, Scott said the work he’s doing is far more important.

“But when I see it, see the pictures and the videos, these are people that I’ve spent Christmas dinner with; people that I know on a very personal level,” she said. “It’s just heartbreaking.”

Scott said a disaster like the earthquake puts life in perspective.

“I hear a lot of complaints, and if people only knew what they had, they would live their life a little differently,” she said.

Currently, volunteers are packing up the handcrafted products. They’ll be opening a storefront in Albany in a few weeks.

Sheldon will remain in Ecuador until things become more stable.

To contribute to Eden’s Rose Foundation, click HERE.

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