After traveling to Haiti on a medical mission trip, Adam Kurtz returned to the U.S. a changed man.
The Hilton Head Island resident went on the mission with six others to help the Haitian people through the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake. They spent a week working in a hospital, caring for the victims.
"It was obviously one of those life-changing things to go through," Kurtz said. "You're going from Hilton Head Island and ending up in Haiti, nonetheless in the middle of a huge natural disaster."
Kurtz, 23, said he was really impressed with the people of Haiti. Most of the time they didn't have any pain medication, yet they didn't complain. Even after having their legs amputated, they were fine with no medication, he said.
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After returning home, Kurtz knew he couldn't just go back to his normal life and forget what he saw. He had gotten to know the people he helped, nursing them back to health, playing with their children and seeing their tremendous strength. He couldn't stand the thought of letting them suffer.
Kurtz, who has a background in construction and is now a paramedic with Shoreline Medical Transport, returned to Haiti five times after that first trip. When he went back, he hooked up with the nonprofit Christian organization Hope in the Light Ministry and helped build two schools.
In March, Kurtz opened a bicycle rental shop on Hilton Head called Bon Bicycles. What do bicycles have to do with Haiti? They are a vehicle for raising money for the impoverished country. All the profits from the bicycle rentals will go toward helping the people of Haiti through Hope in the Light.
The first part of the profits will go toward scholarships for students to attend school. Kurtz said it costs $25 to send a student to school for a month. The rest of the money will go toward building a kitchen for the schools and a cistern for the village.
For those who are not familiar with the French language, the "Bon" in Bon Bicycles means "good." And Kurtz hopes to do a lot of good with his new venture.
"It's a matter of not turning your back if there's a need you can fill," he said. "Potentially with this business venture, we can help completely fill that need."
Follow Amy Coyne Bredeson at twitter.com/IPBG_Amy.