Sophomore linebacker Hayes Pullard was one of 16 USC football players who… (Christina House / For The…)
USC football players returned this week from a relief trip to Haiti humbled by the experience.
A group of 16 Trojans helped build four houses and moved about 2,500 pounds of supplies to an orphanage in Sous Savanne, located a few hours west of the capital of Port-au-Prince.
The near one-week trip was organized by Les Barkley, father of quarterback Matt Barkley, and was sponsored by the Hope Force International disaster relief organization.
Les Barkley said Thursday that the players made, and left with, many impressions.
"I couldn’t have been more proud of the work they did," said the elder Barkley, who had traveled to Haiti immediately after the devastating 2010 earthquake. "There's a lot of stress when you walk into that environment -- and it's not just physical.
"When you see the poverty, and the devastation that is still apparent from the quake, it’s shocking."
Sophomore linebacker Hayes Pullard said the players worked in groups of four to build a house. Humidity exacerbated 90-degree temperatures, but the teammates pushed through it.
"It was like a competition," Pullard said. "You build a house and it's finished, and you look at the people who you're helping and how happy they are. It's a humbling experience."
Freshman linebacker Scott Starr said putting smiles on the faces of children and others made the trip memorable.
"You don't really understand what you have until you go to a place like that," he said. "I'll carry this with me the rest of my life. It was completely an eye-opening experience."
Senior safety T.J. McDonald was moved by the villagers' willingness to share limited food and supplies and to help the Trojans' construction effort.
The players, he said, learned what it meant to rely on each other by observing the people they had traveled to help.
"How can I complain about anything?" McDonald said. "How can I not realize how blessed I really am? When you see those kids smile with all they are going through, it changes you."
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USC football: Trojans humbled by trip to Haiti