As we told you last week, Redskins owner Dan Snyder sent his private plane to Haiti stocked with items to help the earthquake-ravaged country. Former Skins linebacker and current team employee Ken Harvey joined a delegation from one of the club's corporate partners, Diageo, in distributing more than 50,000 pounds of food, clothing and medical supplies to Haitians who have been displaced because of the devastation.
Harvey returned to Washington earlier this morning on Snyder's plane and he talked about the relief effort.
"The people are trying to survive, they're all trying to figure out what next. They're scared to go back in their homes. Everything normal to them has been destroyed," Harvey told The Washington Post. "I look at it like, in America ... when something happens in the winter time when the power goes out, we run around trying to get candles and freaking out -- at least we have the confidence that lights will come back on, and people are working on it. Here, it's hard for people to have confidence that things are going to get better."
Harvey knew going in that he wouldn't be able to make a huge impact during a two-day trip, but he hopes discussing what he witnessed will influence others to contribute to the relief efforts. Here's what he had to say about the smell in the air:
"It's hard to describe the smell," said Harvey, who played for the Redskins from 1994-98. "It's a unique smell. You can smell it coming. It's death. It's bodies decaying. You want to put on your mask, but then you feel guilty because you realize that there are people that are going to have to deal with this all every day. They can't just put on a mask and pretend it doesn't exist. Even if I wanted to turn away, I can't turn away. I'm only here for a short time. But this is their life.
"You walk by, and you see a body. Well, they see one of their relatives. That smell is a reminder of everything that's happened."
From watching the tragic images on television and reading the reports, it's obvious that Haiti needs a tremendous amount of support. I'm still amazed by the staggering amount of money that was contributed by football fans across the country during last weekend's games. The Vikings made it very clear that fans could contribute to the Red Cross via text message during Sunday's game against the Cowboys.
I know making the trip to Haiti isn't feasible for a lot of us right now, but there are numerous ways in which we can contribute.