A Helping Hand For Honduras

Tommy DeLacey's early experience in Honduras was difficult, reports CBS News Correspondent John Roberts.

"I was born in 1982 in San Pedro Sula," says DeLacey. "I lay in a cardboard box until my adoption. I was adopted at four months of age; my biological family still lives down there."

But even from his new home on New York's Staten Island, he still has strong connections to the country and its people.

"I didn't come here just to live and not give back... God sent me here for some reason, so that I can help my people," he says.

Helping a homeland he has never really known is this recent high-school graduate's mission.

Twenty-two days after Hurricane Mitch battered Central America, Tommy is raising money in his own community for food and supplies to help Honduras' homeless.

But the damage will not be easy to fix.

"It will be many years," says Honduras' First Lady, Mary Flores. "We've lost about 50 years of infrastructure."

Bridges, roads, vital factories, and telephone lines all must be rebuilt. Flores is appealing for help from any one willing to give.

"We have a population of six million people and a third of them are homeless," she says.

For the DeLacey's and so many others in the U.S., there is still no word from friends or family in Honduras. When telephone calls failed to go through, Tommy=s mother pat turned to the Internet.

"We have three email addresses through which people can contact an institution in Honduras where they will try to find the families," she says. "We also have ham radio operators who are trying to locate family members."

The ham radio operators are based in Miami where every weekend -- with limited success - they try to locate loved ones who had the bad luck of living in Mitch's fatal path.

The DeLaceys learned through email that a group of their friends survived Mitch, but they will never know if Tommy's biological mother is alive -- they don't even know who she is.

Still, Tommy is driven to help anyone in Honduras he can by collecting donations from local schools and businesses.

"Hey, look lets all pull together, lets all really help, one-dollar, fifty-cents, anything at all to save one child, that's what its all about," he says.

This Thanksgiving, he says he will give a special prayer:

"That God sent me to America and that he spared me the agony, the suffering, of what I would have gone through had I been in Honduras -- and to be able to use these hands to help other people, in Honduras and not waste it."

So far, he has raised over $3200 to buy relief supplies, and when he is ready, a neighbor has offered to give him use of a container to ship the goods down to Honduras.

Reported by John Roberts
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  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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