The story of how one of Hollywood's biggest talents ended up in a plywood cubicle begins in January 2010. Penn had recently won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Harvey Milk in the film "Milk." But for all his success, Penn's personal life was difficult. And that's when he saw the news of the earthquake in Haiti.
Thousands were dead and thousands more were injured in the earthquake. There were reports of surgeries and amputations being done without pain medications. Hardware store hacksaws were being used to cut limbs from the injured.
Penn's son, Hopper, had recently recovered from a terrible skateboarding accident. Penn remembered how pain medication helped his son cope with his injuries. So when he saw the "Civil War"-style medicine being practiced in Haiti, Penn was determined to help.
Penn flew to Haiti with a plane filled with doctors and medicine and founded his Haitian relief organization he calls J/P HRO. it was supposed to be a two-week mission, but it's been three years now, and Penn's not leaving.
Down the street from Penn's house is a camp with thousands of tents still housing people displaced from the earthquake. Penn's group has helped to relocate tens of thousands of people out of the tent camps.
Penn is stopped in Haiti all the time, but not because he is a celebrity. People here know him as the man who can give them a job. Penn's J/P HRO employs hundreds of Haitians to clear rubble from the streets, fix existing homes and build new ones. Here he shows Rose just how high the rubble was before the cleanup.
The American Red Cross presented Sean Penn with its International Humanitarian Service Award at a ceremony on Oct. 24, 2012. Penn was chosen because of his tireless work in Haiti since the catastrophic earthquake on Jan 12, 2010.