Andy Kennedy of Waldoboro is branching out with his efforts to help send local firefighters, paramedics and medical workers to Haiti. Kennedy recently returned from two weeks of medical service in the earthquake-ravaged Caribbean country.

Money and supplies can be donated at the Waldoboro Police Department. Melody Tracy is coordinating efforts there and can be contacted at 832-4500 or police@waldoboromaine.org. Donations can include tents, rations and medical supplies.

Kennedy is also helping to raise money with Trees for Haiti. Kennedy owns Crofter’s Garden Nursery on Old Route 1 in Waldoboro. He said he is a nurse who took a sabbatical to grow plants. Kennedy said Haitians are cutting down valuable trees for charcoal. There is no concept of the value of those trees, he said.

Kennedy can’t take his Japanese maples to Haiti, but he can persuade people to buy his trees and make $10 donations for the fund to send a local volunteer to Haiti. He will sell Japanese maples, which are usually sold for $25 to $45, for $20 and pot them and deliver the trees in the mid-April planting season.

“Pickup will be in mid-April and people can go home with the knowledge that $10 went to the fund that is collected at the police station,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy said he is raising money because it is expensive for Midcoast volunteers to serve in Haiti. He paid about $2,000 out of his own pocket for his trip, including a plane ticket and inoculations. Raising money will give him, or someone else, the chance to go back. Kennedy said a couple of local doctors and a Waldoboro firefighter have expressed interest.

“For the next guy who goes, maybe we can get his flight taken care of,” Kennedy said.

He said he was moved by the need for an ongoing presence in Haiti because the country was so underfunded to begin with.

Kennedy went with the International Medical Assistance Team, or IMAT. An IMAT group was the first medical team at the earthquake epicenter and treated 250 people the first night. Kennedy reached Haiti about 16 days after the earthquake. He said he got three hours of sleep in the first 48 hours. He worked in a Baptist mission hospital in Cayes-Jacmel that normally offered surgery one day a week. While he was there, the doctors and nurses performed surgery 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

“It was hectic, no sleep,” Kennedy said. “We were just trying to keep people going.”

People who had initial treatment were having problems with amputations that were not properly closed.

“We were re-doing surgeries that had been done in 20 minutes 10 days before,” Kennedy said.

He said he could tell heart wrenching stories of lives lost and children abandoned in Haiti. He could set a scene that would bring tears to a listener’s eyes. He could tell dramatic tales about a young heart that stopped beating or a life that slowly faded away. Kennedy could, but that is not what medical professionals do, he said.

Instead, he is growing Trees for Haiti and trying to help others serve where there is a great need for medical and rescue help. To contact Kennedy, send an e-mail to andy@croftersgarden.com. For more information on Trees for Haiti, e-mail treesforhaiti@croftersgarden.com.