The family of the Irish UN worker who died in the Haitian earthquake in early January has set up a charity in his honor.
Andrew Grene, 44, was found among the rubble of the earthquake on Monday, January 18 in Port-au-Prince.
Grene, who held Irish citizenship, was born in Chicago to an Irish father. However, Grene and family spent much of his childhood and even more of his adulthood in Belturbet, Co. Cavan.
Grene, assistant to the head of the UN mission in Haiti, was buried in Belturbet on Sunday. Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Brian Cowen and President Mary McAleese were represented by their aides-de-camp, while Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith represented the government at the funeral.
Grene’s family have set up the Andrew Grene Foundation with an aim to provide educational help and other support to the people of Haiti where a transformational difference can be made.
Gregory Grene, Andrew’s twin brother and founder of New York Irish rock band the Prodigals, wrote in an email to the Irish Voice that the Grene family was overwhelmed “by the wonderful, and deeply appreciated, outpouring of support from your readership.”
The Andrew Grene Foundation, to be run by volunteers, will be dedicated to educating the youth of Haiti. Although the format has yet to be decided, the family is thinking of providing scholarships to Haitian children or supporting a school.
“The family strongly feels this would be most in accordance with Andrew's wishes, and insofar as humanly possible, every penny received will go directly to its intended beneficiaries,” wrote Grene.
“And we hope insofar as possible to gain some solace in the perpetuation of his name in a cause that he would have passionately believed in, and the belief that his loss, while devastatingly random, has not been in vain.”
The foundation will take directive from friends and colleagues of Grene’s who survived the earthquake and remain on the ground in Haiti providing help where needed.
Grene’s wife, Jennifer, an English teacher at Long Island Lutheran High School in Brookville, hails from Co. Down. The couple has three children, Patrick, 21, Alex 19, and Rosamund, 14. They live in Hicksville, Long Island.
The family moved from Chicago to New York about 15 years ago when Grene took the job with the UN.
Grene is also survived by his mother, Ethel, an emergency room doctor in Chicago. Grene’s father, David, died of a brain hemorrhage in 2002.
Donations to the charitable foundation can be made by logging on to www.andrewgrene.org.