Lending a Helping Hand 

Volunteers help to rebuild homes and buildings in Haiti after the earthquake

Colton Denlinger ’20, a business administration major, spent three years of his life rebuilding homes, hospitals, and churches, along with helping to run an orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in 2010 after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake.  

“I was 12 years old when our family moved to Haiti,” Denlinger said. “My parents started an organization called ‘AWAKENHaiti,’ so we were doing mission work.”

Originally from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, the family committed to living in the third-world country for three years, where their organization thrived.

“A pastor that we knew was doing work in Haiti after the earthquake,” Denlinger said. “We initially just went to visit, but we kept going back until we moved there altogether.”

On top of giving back to the community through the copious amounts of volunteer work, Denlinger was homeschooled during his extended visit to Haiti. 

“It was hard leaving home,” Denlinger said. “I was only 12 though when we moved, so I wasn’t specifically anchored to something here. It was definitely an interesting transition.” 

Denlinger’s experience in Haiti is what sparked his interest in construction. He comes from a family of contractors, making his interest become a reality. He started off his collegiate career at LVC as an engineering major, but wanted to focus more around the law enforcement aspect of business administration. 

“The entire experience opened my eyes,” Denlinger said. “Not everyone in the world is fortunate. These people were living in extreme poverty conditions, but in general, I noticed that they were happier than Americans, because of their lifestyle.” 

With recent natural disasters sweeping across the nation, it is important to give back in any way possible—a theme consistent with the community service-minded LVC campus.


Veronica Pettyjohn, Marketing and Communications Intern