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Jan 8, 2011 8:08 PM by James Amos

Pueblo West electrician helping Haiti residents

Nick Nicholas is helping Health4Haiti, a group of doctors and other medical professionals who go to Haiti each year to provide medical care. The group has access to an x-ray machine in the Haitain city of Gonaives, but it's not hooked up to electricity.

"It's got one hospital for 300,000 people, and that hospital got wiped out by a hurricane in 2008," said Dr. Jim Smith of Pueblo, who runs Health4Haiti. "So they moved it to a big warehouse, put the hospital in the warehouse, and they haven't had any x-rays since then."

"It's 220 volts instead of the standard 110, and you have to bring wire, big wire, that can handle that, and electrical panels, to wire it into."

That's where Nicholas comes in. He is an electrical contractor who has donated money and tents for the Haitian earthquake victims, and realized he would help again now.

"I was talking to him, and he was asking me what to do." Nicholas said. "They were going to try to do it themselves I think, if they could."

"We were going to try to get by." Smith said. "But then when we found out that a real electrician wanted to come. And not only that, he's the one who figured out what all he needed material-wise, and went out and got it all donated."

Nichiolas, who owns A-1 Electric, talked to his electrician friends, and they pitched in. Blazer Electric donated almost $1,000 in supplies.

Nicholas said there's a lot more to hooking up an x-ray machine than just running an extension cord.

"That x-ray machine pulls 100 amps, which is the same size of service going into a small house."

But the machine will help doctors like Smith on their next trip.

"In February I will take an orthopedic team down there, and then we can actually fix broken bones," Smith said.

Nicholas said he's happy to help. "I think it'll be an interesting trip. I'm looking forward.. I think it'll be fun."

Health4Haiti will hold a fund-raiser Sunday, Jan. 9, at Central Christian Church at 1902 Hudson in Pueblo. The show includes performances by Sarah Wood and Fireweed and starts at 6 p.m.

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