A Beaufort man builds a boat for a mission to help Haitians | News
BEAUFORT — A Beaufort man has spent much of the past decade raising money and building a workboat that will soon be carrying supplies for a New York-based Haitian charity.
RV Hodge, who is the director of Jarrett Bay Boatworks, raised the money through his own charity, Mission Navigation, and will donate the vessel to Team Haiti-4-Jesus, a nonprofit centered on Christ.
According to its website, the team is a group of Haitians and Americans working together to meet the needs of the Haitian people.
“We expect the boat to undergo sea trials later this month,” Mr Hodge said in a recent interview. The boat will be shipped to Florida, then go to Haiti.
Mr. Hodge said the Haiti-4-Jesus team is building a retirement home, a school and an orphanage, among other things.
“I’m so happy to provide the support,” Mr Hodge said. “The main roads there are like secondary roads here, and getting around is difficult and dangerous, especially when it’s raining. A boat really is the best way to get building materials to where they need to be. And I imagine that they will also use it for the transport of people.
Mr Hodge, who began his professional boat building career in Alaska in the 1980s and now lives north of Beaufort, said it took 10 years – interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic – and about 3,500 man-hours to build the 34-foot vessel. So far it has cost around $35,000, all given away, but Mr Hodge said the boat will sell for four or five times that amount.
“I am very grateful to my employer for giving me the time to do this,” he said. “It means so much to me.”
He also thanked the others who helped him build the boat.
Mr Hodge attends the Bridgeway Church of the Nazarene in Beaufort and said that before undertaking the labor of love he prayed for several years for the opportunity to use his boat building skills to help in missions.
In 2008, a missionary who had spent time in Haiti told Mr. Hodge about the dangerous travel conditions on the island nation’s horrendous roads, conditions that make it difficult to get construction materials to sites.
The missionary, according to Mr. Hodge, concluded by saying, “It’s a shame we can’t just send them a good boat. And so began Mr. Hodge’s occasion.
He and his wife, Jennie Hodge, went to work on the fundraising effort, but it was a slow process interrupted by COVID. Eventually he and his wife founded Mission Navigation, and the money started coming in. During this time he continued to build.
He can’t wait for sea trials here.
“We’re excited,” he said. “It was a long process.”
Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email [email protected]; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.