What a world, what a day, what a life. That is my standard greeting when I host the Caplis & Silverman Show on 630-KHOW in Denver. Never has that expression been brought home to me more clearly than this weekend.
Friday afternoon, Dan Caplis and I hosted a Haiti Relief fundraiser live radio remote at the Denver Press Club. We had Red Cross officials on as guests and we demonstrated on air the ease of texting $10 to 90999 via cell phone. My friend and fellow lawyer, Rich Harris, came on to tell our audience how he and his wife Lisa were just about to go to Port au Prince to finalize the adoption of two Haitian babies. The Harrises had gotten an initial report that the orphanage withstood the earthquake, but the aftermath was a source of fear.
Fear soon became reality. It turns out that one of the main nannies at the orphanage had been killed in the earthquake. Other staff members had family crises that caused further problems for the little kids who no longer even had a building to sleep in. Diapers, food, formula and water were in short supply. I got a panicked call from Rich Harris on Saturday informing me of these facts and asking me if I had any ideas. I did not have any great ideas.
That is why it is smart to get married. My wife Trish got online (Facebook) and communicated with Lisa Harris, and then Trish put her active mind to work. Then it hit us at 7 p.m. MST when we saw our pal Geraldo Rivera doing his TV Show, Geraldo at Large, from Port au Prince. Joining Geraldo was his smart and strong brother Craig Rivera and a big Fox News reporting crew.
Geraldo became a friend of mine back in the mid-1990s as he covered the JonBenet murder tragedy. Trish and I danced and thrilled at Geraldo's Manhattan wedding to his beautiful Erica. Geraldo has many times been a guest on our radio show. So I took a shot on Saturday night. I e-mailed Geraldo and Craig Rivera as follows:
Geraldo and Craig,
Great reporting by you guys from Haiti.
Trish and I have good friends Rich and Lisa Harris who were just finalizing adoption of two Haitian toddlers, a little girl, Guimara, and little boy, Davinson, from Maison des Enfants de Dieu (House of Children of G-d) orphanage in Port au Prince -- about 5 miles from the airport. Rich and Lisa were long scheduled to travel to Port au Prince in a little over a week from now.
The orphanage and kids survived earthquake but head nanny was killed and now food and water and supervision is lacking.
I know this is a longshot and you are busy and that situation on ground is chaotic, but the Harrises are desperate and scared to death for these kids who were about to become Americans and their formal children. They reached out to us for help and now, we reach out to you.
Craig and Trish Silverman
Within ten minutes of Geraldo's show ending, I got an e-mail back from the broadcasting legend:
I'll take a ride out there Sunday and let you know.
I had shared the Riveras e-mails with the Harrises and vice versa and went to
bed in Colorado hoping for the best. When I checked my e-mail on Sunday morning, I learned that the Rivera brothers had taken amazing action. I got this e-mail from Rich Harris:
Rivera boys are AWESOME. They may have saved lives today. They are there now.
My heartfelt reply to Rich with a copy to the Riveras:
The Riveras are excellent and tenacious people! Geraldo and Craig love children. They will do what they can.
And then, Trish and I watched a special two hour edition of Geraldo at Large at 7 p.m. MST on Sunday night. The outstanding first half hour was about the House of the Children of G-d orphanage in Port au Prince. Craig Rivera and other Fox News members got there just in time to find over a hundred toddlers in desperate need. Some of the food and water the orphanage had been saving had been stolen by marauding gangs. The Riveras got the story out fast via Fox News and supplies were replenished with the aid of the Salvation Army and USAID.
There on Geraldo's show were Rich and Lisa Harris from a Denver satellite feed. Live but sleepy from the orphanage were their soon to be children (Guimara and Davinson). Scores of beautiful other Hatian children sleeping on the dirt outside were shown and the heroic orphanage director told the story. Now, this orphanage has a chance.
As Lisa Harris said on the air, thank you Riveras and Fox News, but these children need to get out. These Harris kids are precious and soon to be our Colorado neighbors. Let's do everything we can to help. For most of us, that means contributing money.
On or show on Friday, we had some callers questioning the commitment of money to Haiti by American citizens and our country. It is a question of humanity. Our long term role in Haiti is the subject of good debate but while kids and other people are alive under rubble, desperate for bare essentials that we, as their neighbors, can easily provide, let's do it.
I admire the emergency workers and medical professionals who have the capacity to fly to Haiti and save lives. As for me, all I could think to do was send money because there was no need or desire in Haiti for lawyers or radio talk show hosts. Who knew?
Geraldo Rivera is a lawyer and a talk show host who is making a real difference in the lives of American citizens and others in Haiti. Geraldo also had the wisdom, cojones and big stage to rightfully rip Rush Limbaugh for being a racial provocateur as he demeaned America giving money and ripped Obama for exploiting the situation, claiming our President was trying to burnish his reputation among the "light-skinned and dark-skinned black community."
There are plenty of good topics to debate. Immediate emergency aid to Haiti is
not one of them. It was an American joy to see President Obama with Bill Clinton and George W. Bush join together in this effort. Let's save lives - including the lives of the Harris children who are so soon scheduled to be our Colorado neighbors and fellow citizens.