Saving the Man Who Saved My Life

Saving the Man Who Saved My Life

An American writer races to aid the badly injured Port-au-Prince orphanage manager who had once helped cure him of malaria. (Time)

One of the many collapsed buildings in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, is Maison St. Joseph, a shelter for boys who were abandoned by their families or are former child slaves. Manager Bill Nathan, a man who had once been slave himself, was severely injured in an 80-foot fall from the building’s buckling roof during the earthquake. Although unable to walk, Nathan was barely able to roll out of harm’s way in time as the concrete roof followed him to the ground. Nathan credits God for a suggestion to roll away, but he also thanks his friends for what happened next.

This life-affirming Time magazine video follows Nathan’s friend, writer E. Benjamin Skinner (left), and shelter benefactor Miles Wright (right) from Ft. Lauderdale to Haiti on a quest to save him. While in Haiti researching a book on child slavery in 2005, Skinner contracted a severe case of malaria, and believes that Nathan saved his life by taking him in and finding the drug that cured him. When the two Americans heard of the building’s collapse and Nathan’s injuries, they rented a private plane and rushed to the rescue. The badly injured Haitian was subsequently transported to the U.S. for care and is recovering.

Skinner, who narrates the story, considered the trip a “matter of honor” and a “debt paid,” but Nathan takes a more spiritual view. His voice, choked with emotion, is interspersed through the narrative, crediting God for keeping him alive in order to someday return to St. Joseph’s and continue his charity work. Either way, Nathan says he is a lucky man who “certainly has friends.”


Length: 7:50

Writer: E. Benjamin Skinner
Editor: Jim Fields
Producer: Craig Duff