Many of the photos that chronicle the travels of Danny Carpenter, of Tyler, since his retirement in 1998 are not what some might expect from a retiree.
Several show large buildings that have been reduced to piles of rubble, while in others people are seen missing various articles of clothing and digging through garbage in hopes of finding food.
For about 19 years, Carpenter, 73, along with his wife Carol, has taken an active role in providing relief to people who are in need all over the world.
When Hurricane Mitch hit Honduras in 1998 killing thousands, the couple used a nonprofit they had formed to ship food and clothing to the country.
In 2001, Carpenter shipped food and clothing in response to an earthquake in El Salvador and then flew into the country to help. In 2005, Carpenter shipped 22 semi-trailer loads of bananas and $7 million of medical supplies to a triage center in Baton Rouge after Hurricane Katrina, according to a news release from South Tyler Rotary.
Carpenter’s generosity and volunteerism has also been displayed on many other occasions. A member of Rotary International since 2008, Carpenter became a member of South Tyler Rotary in 2013 after moving to East Texas.
At the South Tyler Rotary’s Monday meeting at First Christian Church, Carpenter was presented with Rotary International’s Service Above Self Award. The honor recognizes Rotarians who demonstrate Rotary’s motto, “Service Above Self,” by volunteering their time and talents to help others.
The award is internationally competitive and is granted to no more than 150 Rotarians worldwide each year. Rotary International is comprised of 35,000 Rotary Clubs and has 1.2 million members, according to the South Tyler Rotary news release.
“Dan Carpenter has repeatedly worked for others who are suffering and in great need,” said Lee Montgomery, district governor for Rotary District 5830. Montgomery nominated Carpenter for the honor. “Dan has been able to marshal a strong network of donors, providers and shippers into action for people in need.”
Carpenter said he was drawn to becoming a Rotarian because of the organization’s mission to help build good will and peace in the world.
“My calling has been to help people in need,” Carpenter said. “God has blessed me to help others. The Bible is my inspiration to help people.”
Carpenter has been responsible for shipping 2,500 40 to 52-foot-long containers of food and supplies to Honduras, El Salvador, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Indonesia and Pakistan. He continues to visit Honduras four-to-five times a year, for two-to-three weeks at a time.
Mrs. Carpenter said, along the way, she and her husband’s work has not always been easy. In one country, their driver told them they needed to leave the area quickly because they were in a dangerous neighborhood. In another instance, Carpenter stayed in hotel that collapsed the week after he left.
But ultimately, the Carpenters said getting the chance to help others has been worth it, and Carpenter suggests anyone looking to do so.
“You need to either work with your local church or a civic organization,” he said. “You can always volunteer somewhere. If you have a willing heart you can find some way you can help people.”