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Hewitt Haiti orphanage benefit in GF postponed 1 week

Weather has forced a one-week postponement of the Grand Forks benefit planned to raise money for Lacey Hewitt, Lancaster, Minn., and the Haiti orphanage where she has been working since October.

Weather has forced a one-week postponement of the Grand Forks benefit planned to raise money for Lacey Hewitt, Lancaster, Minn., and the Haiti orphanage where she has been working since October.

Originally scheduled for Monday night, the benefit concert and silent auction in the Empire Arts Center has been delayed until next Monday. The schedule also has been altered slightly, with doors to open at 5:30 p.m. and the show, featuring a variety of area musicians and singers, starting at 6, organizer Steve Matzke said.

The orphanage, on the outskirts of Haiti's capital city Port-au-Prince, was heavily damaged in the Jan. 12 earthquake. Hewitt's father, Jim, a Kittson County deputy sheriff, has joined her to help rebuild the orphanage, and several nurses and other volunteers from the Grand Forks area are hoping to reach the stricken country this week.

Jim and Kelli Hewitt, who live on a ranch outside Lancaster, adopted several children from Haiti years ago. They had completed paperwork for the adoption of more Haitian children when the earthquake struck.

Jim Hewitt arrived Friday afternoon "and had a happy reunion with Lacey and our new kids," Kelli Hewitt wrote on Lacey's blog Sunday.

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"I asked him how he liked the kids and he said, 'Kelli, they are sooooo nice! Very sweet!' "

One of the prospective adoptees, Katyna, "was shy at first, but warmed up quickly and gave him a big hug," Kelli Hewitt reported. "He said Tommy likes everyone, so there is no problem there!"

Jim Hewitt, who has taken a leave from work and expects to stay in Haiti for up to three weeks, cleaned out food and clothing storage areas his first day and started tearing down what remains of walls surrounding the orphanage on Saturday.

"He brought gloves and tool aprons for the teen boys, and you can see Anderson here helping to break up the cement so they can haul it away," Kelli Hewitt wrote on Lacey's blog, referring to photo of a gloved and aproned boy wielding a hammer.

"Lacey said Dad is working way too hard, and she was worried about him. But I said he's got a limited amount of time, so I'm sure he would like to make good use of it."

Several other photos by Jim Hewitt from Haiti have been posted on Lacey's blog, www.laceyinhaiti.blogspot.com .

Contributions may be made to the Lacey Hewitt Orphanage Benefit at Frandsen Bank and Trust, 1413 Central Ave., East Grand Forks MN 56721, or at the Empire Arts Center, 415 DeMers Ave., Grand Forks ND 58201.

Contributions to the rebuilding effort also may be made online through Lacey Hewitt's blog, where more than $3,500 had been pledged through the weekend. Matzke, organizer of the Grand Forks benefit concert, said that "just shy of $5,000" has been contributed there.

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Reach Haga at (701) 780-1102; (800) 477-6572, ext. 102; or send e-mail to chaga@gfherald.com .

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