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Colorado Man Trapped In Quake Returns To Haiti

Written by Rick Sallinger
DENVER (CBS4) - Next Wednesday marks one year since the devastating earthquake in Haiti which killed more than 200,000 people. Thousands of people were trapped for days in the rubble of destroyed buildings, including a man from Colorado who wants to do more to help those who survived.

Dan Woolley of Colorado Springs was part of the rescue mission. Now he is heading back to Haiti to continue his work for the charity Compassion International.

Woolley spent three days trapped beneath the crushing rubble of the Hotel Montana. He survived using common sense and prayer. A year later, he still vividly remembers the moment the tremor hit.

"I heard the explosions of concrete breaking around me and felt the ground move underneath me and saw the walls start to ripple." Woolley said, "I knew it was an earthquake and I tried to react."

Unable to get out, he discovered an elevator car which would be his home for the next 65 hours. He will now return to that hotel and that ravaged country.

"I'm a little nervous. I don't know what it's going to be like for me. I know I'm going to see a lot of pain. I know I'm going to see a lot hardship."

Woolley still holds onto his good-bye notes in his blood-stained journal, written to his wife and his two children.

"Don't just live, change the world.  Nathan I am sorry I wasn't there to get to know you better, but I already love your laugh and smile and I love wrestling with you."

Next week he plans to reunite with one of those who was trapped nearby him. A Haitian hotel employee named Lukeson.

"We were able to communicate in the dark. We encouraged each other and prayed with each other."

A picture of Lukeson's hand touching his face after their rescue is now the cover of a book Woolley has written about the ordeal. A year after coming home in a wheelchair he is going back in hopes of finding a nation rising from the ruins.

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