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Firefighter Jailed in Haiti Has "Tender Heart"

Firefighter Jailed in Haiti Has "Tender Heart"

Drew Culberth, 34, of Topeka, Kansas, one of the 10 Americans who were arrested while trying to bus children out of Haiti without proper documents or government permission, exits a Haitian police truck after being taking back to jail in Port-au-Prince, Th

Kansas City Star via YellowBrix

February 05, 2010

TOPEKA – Those who attend church with Topeka firefighter Drew Culberth said they believed that his group of Baptist missionaries had the best of intentions when it tried to take children out of quake-ravaged Haiti.

In fact, said the Rev. James Keller, pastor of Topeka’s Bethel Baptist Church, the group had tried to get the correct paperwork.

In an e-mail from the Idaho church that organized the mission, Keller read that the group tried three times to acquire the paperwork before they were asked to pay $300 a head for the children to cross the border. Culberth’s group refused, Keller said, and before long they were arrested.

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Culberth, 34, a father of four, has been a part-time youth pastor at the church since 2004.

“He’s really a neat guy. He has got a neat family here. He’s reliable, responsible, dependable. …He’s got a kind and tender heart,” Keller said. “… I would trust him with my life.”

Culberth joined the mission through his brother-in-law, a pastor at the Idaho church. He had asked Culberth to go along because he was good with kids and because he was trained as a firefighter and an emergency medical technician, Keller said.

Culberth’s wife, Marta, has been unable to speak to her husband since his arrest, Keller said. The church is doing all it can for her, he said, but it can only pray for her husband.