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Tramel: Loving on those who 'loved on' Haiti

A group of University of Oklahoma athletes visited Haiti this spring. The Oklahoman's Berry Tramel and freelance photographer Michael Davis present some thoughts, feelings and images that will stay with those athletes forever.
BY BERRY TRAMEL Modified: June 5, 2011 at 9:17 am •  Published: June 5, 2011

DeSong, probably three or four years old, walked up to Habern wanting to help him paint. “Cutest little face,” Habern said. “When he smiled … I picked him up that morning and didn’t set him down until we left that afternoon.”

During the ride atop Habern, DeSong fell asleep. At one point, Habern lifted his arm to hold DeSong’s head in place, a muscle workout that would make Jerry Schmidt proud. The story made Bob Stoops proud.

“The kids we work with today are incredible,” Stoops told the OU fans of Dallas. “Not just today; it’s been there a long time. These kids, they’re unbelievable. Absolutely amazing, young people of character, of faith.

“You have no idea. It’s the best part of our job, getting to see ‘em every day. It’s why we do what we do; 99.5 percent of ‘em are the best you’d ever be around.”

Stoops looked at Habern and Hand and said, “What you did in Haiti and beyond, we appreciate you. We’re always correcting you,” he said with a chuckle, “but we love you.”

Hand and many of her teammates had gone on a Haitian mission trip the year before. “For me, it was so encouraging to see the improvement, the hope for their nation,” Hand said. Hand was encouraged by a school she visited. “They are growing leaders, people with vision for their country,” Hand said.

Maybe the same could be said about OU.


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