Subject: Appleton donations make magic in East Timor

Also: Letters from Timorese Children (July 14); East Timor aid package begins journey (June 14); East Timor relief effort nears its goal (June 6); Wisconsin-East Timor aid effort moving forward again and East Timor aid effort clears final hurdle (May 18)

Appleton, Wisconsin Post-Crescent Sat 14-Jul-2001

Appleton donations make magic in East Timor Appleton officer has one month to distribute last load

By Ed Culhane Post-Crescent staff writer

Last March, Appleton police officer Dave Hyman, serving a tour of duty with United Nations peacekeepers in East Timor, learned of a child's death in one of the hundred remote jungle villages in his territory.

"I went to the village to find out what happened to the little boy," he wrote recently in an e-mail. "In speaking with the chief, I learned that 28 children had died in two months. We immediately activated the U.N. and got doctors to the village, but not before several more children died, one of them in my arms as I tried to get her to the hospital.

"The bush people call this time of year the dying season."

Hyman said he has no idea how many people are dying. In two small villages, with a combined population of 302, the dying season killed 36, all of them children.

Most died as the result of malnutrition, Hyman said. They had no protein in their diet.

After that encounter, he started a simple version of a rural food cooperative. He bought five hens and a rooster and took them to one village. He told the residents not to eat them right away but to breed them.

In four months, the villagers gave him twice as many chickens in return, and he distributed those to the next village, and so on.

"To date, I have collected almost 100 chickens and redistributed them to the most remote villages," Hyman said. "The program is working. There is still so very far to go before things are right here, though."

Hyman's job is to investigate crimes and to train a civilian police force in the mountainous region of Alieu. His district is 729 square miles with a population of 35,000 in 100 villages and as many "sub villages." More than half are school-aged children, as the life expectancy for a healthy adult male is 47 years.

Women have it the worst, he said. They live short lives of child-bearing and hard labor. He sees doctors rarely, but was told by one that East Timorese have the highest infant mortality rate in the world.

A former Marine, Hyman was commended for bravery in February by the Commissioner of the United Nations Transition Authority in East Timor. Hyman did not write about this, and it is not clear for which action he was commended, but in one instance the Appleotn officer prevented the slaughter of a U.N. military patrol.

The U.N. soldiers had mistakenly disarmed a small group of Falintil freedom fighters, only to find themselves surrounded by armed fighters, most of them drunk from celebrating their version of Independence Day. Hyman was in the middle.

But it is the officer's work with children that will be remembered. Upon arriving in East Timor last August, Hyman immediately wrote home to his fellow officers, pleading for help. The school children had nothing, he said, not even paper or pencils to write with.

The third shipment is at sea, due to arrive at the end of July, giving Hyman one month to distribute the supplies before his tour of duty ends.

In all, the people of Appleton have shipped about 11,000 pounds of school materials to East Timor, knowing that Hyman was there to guarantee delivery.

"You have no way of understanding, and my simple words could never explain just how much of a difference all of you have made here," Hyman wrote. "These poor babies, in the past, would go to school and sit on a dirt or concrete floor and listen to a teacher talk for two or three hours and then go home and go back to work gathering wood, hauling water or working in the fields."

When he gave them school supplies, he said, their excitement was beyond description.

"There is magic in what all of you have done," he wrote. "All of you, through the gifts you have sent here, have opened the universe for my children here, children that were destined to be nothing more than primal hunter/gatherers are learning to read and write.

"Please stop and think about that for a second. We have not just planted a tree, we have given birth to a forest."

The education level in the bush is abysmal, Hyman said, and most adults have never read a book. Many have no concept of basic hygiene. Out in the bush, he said, there is no education beyond sixth grade. There is only one high school in the entire district.

Hyman said he feels guilty about leaving these children and coming home in late August, but he has his own family and he misses Appleton.

"I will never forget what I have seen here," he wrote, "and I will never forget what the people of my hometown have done for my children here."

Ed Culhane can be reached at 920-993-1000, ext. 216, or by e-mail at

[back to top]


Timor children's thank-yous burst with color, emotion 
By Ed Culhane Post-Crescent staff writer

Letters to "The Father and Mother Appleton Wisconsin United States" and to the "Children of Appleton Wisconsin" have arrived from remote jungle villages in East Timor.

The notes were written by Timorese children in gratitude for the tons of school supplies shipped to the war-ravaged island by the people of Appleton.

Attached were more than three dozen drawings by the children. Within a few weeks, the art will be displayed at the Appleton Police Department.

Several are explosions of color, bursting with the raw beauty of the volcanic island. Whatever it cost to get crayons and paper in the hands of these children seems worth it.

The letters are poignant, expressing happiness and great longing.

"You really get a flavor for how hard it is for kids over there," said Appleton police officer Steve Elliott who coordinated the humanitarian shipments.

One child expressed thanks and added, "with this letter I wont request to the president of the U.N. can choose a man step father in the America to me."

Orphans are as common as death in East Timor where 25 years of Indonesian military occupation ended at a horrifying cost.

The letters came in groups from various village schools. Many employ the same phrases - as in a class lesson.

One group is addressed to the president of the UN, ending with an expression that perhaps can be translated as "from the heart."

"From there I have no anything to give to the president but I prayer to the god, so give to you a long old," several children wrote. "This wards we made with wide breast."

[back to top]

The Post-Crescent (Wisconsin); 
June 14, 2001

East Timor aid package begins journey, to relief of Appleton police

By Ed Culhane

Post-Crescent staff writer

Appleton police officers Steve Elliott and Pat DeWall were still sweating from the effort of wrestling the last pallet of school and medical supplies into a shipping container that had been loaded onto the back of a semi.

The latches had been sealed, the papers signed and the truck, driven by Carlos Orozco of Chicago, pulled out of the Appleton U.S. Army Reserve armory parking lot onto Ballard Road, headed for a railhead in northern Illinois.

The officers watched until it disappeared.

"It's gone," said Elliott, closing a yearlong chapter in his life. "It's gone."

He said he would be sending an e-mail to Appleton officer Dave Hyman, who is serving a yearlong tour of duty in East Timor with U.N. peacekeepers, to let him know the shipment was on its way, a piece of work that took seven months to accomplish.

Hyman had written his fellow officers asking for help. After he arrived in East Timor last August, he befriended malnourished children in the mountainous region of Alieu. The children's school had been bombed to rubble during a 1999 rampage by Indonesia-backed militia forces.

Two smaller shipments, weighing about 2 tons combined, got off without a hitch last fall, but this third and largest relief effort has suffered several setbacks.

First, in April, top military officials in Washington, D.C., canceled a military airlift of the supplies, ruling that the situation in East Timor was too insecure for a non-military mission.

This had also come as a blow to Sen. Mark Green, R-Green Bay, who had been working with the military in trying to get the airlift approved.

"He came back and told us this was unacceptable," said Green's district director, Chad Weininger.

The officers then learned that it would cost $16,000 at regular rates to ship the supplies by sea.

At Green's direction, Weininger spent weeks on the phone trying to find an agency or company that would help. He was finally directed to the Chesapeake Bay Shipping & Warehouse Company in Baltimore. Company officials offered to get the shipment to East Timore for $6,900.

With time running short, Elliott and DeWall appealed to the public, and the money was quickly raised.

Weininger watched the truck pull out. Green was in Washington, casting votes, and was waiting for an update.

"We got sacked on this thing so many times," Weininger said. "I'm glad I've got good news."

The green shipping container bound for East Timor is jammed with eight pallets stacked with boxes. Inside the boxes are 6,900 pounds of school and medical supplies collected by Appleton police officers, teachers, students and business owners.

The president of the company that is shipping the supplies at reduced rates said they will arrive in Dili, the capital of East Timor, within 28 days.

Chesapeake Bay will deliver the supplies for about a dollar a pound, less than half the commercial rate. The company will not take a loss, as previously reported, unless there are problems en route.

"We are working it very close," Frank Lewis said. "We might do a little better than break even. You never know. Customs all over the world are different. In many of these ports, if there is one letter or one word wrong on an official document, they use that as an excuse to extract money, and it doesn't matter if it is a relief shipment. We have had them hold containers of food for their own people."

Lewis said they were able to reduce shipping costs from an estimated $16,000 to $6,900 by calling on favors from shipping lines that receive large amounts of business from Chesapeake Bay, a favor that can be sought only for humanitarian aid.

"We call on the lines to give back a little," Lewis said. "Also, some of the lines offer free or reduced rates for humanitarian supplies and we pass those through the agencies we work with. We are always doing something also."

The truck will haul the container to a rail station in Illinois. From there it will be shipped by rail to the port in Houston where it will be loaded onto a ship. In Singapore, it will be transferred to another ship, headed for Darwin, Australia. From there, a smaller ship will carry it into Dili.

Hyman will be there, waiting for a care package from home.

[back to top]

The Post-Crescent (Wisconsin) Wed 06-Jun-2001

East Timor relief effort nears its goal 
Backers seek $1,900 to cover shipping fees before June 15

By Ed Culhane Post-Crescent staff writer

Three $1,000 corporate donations have boosted an effort to send 6,900 pounds of school supplies to East Timor. But another $1,900 is needed before June 15 to make it happen.

Time is a factor in getting the supplies to children in the war-ravaged province of Alieu because Appleton police officer Dave Hyman ends a one-year tour of duty with United Nations peacekeepers there in August. Hyman, and the Timorese police officers under his command, will guarantee the materials end up in the right hands.

With six weeks needed for shipping, time grows short.

B.J. Linker of the Appleton Police Department said Tuesday that individuals and businesses have donated $5,000 toward the cost of shipping the nearly 3 tons of supplies to the impoverished island nation. Timor is located between Indonesia and Australia, nearly 12,000 miles away.

There have been three $1,000 donations, the latest from Aid Association for Lutherans, Linker said. Kimberly-Clark Corp. and the Dairy Queen in Appleton each have given $1,000. Secura Insurance contributed $300. The rest of the money has arrived in smaller, individual donations.

These donations come on top of the supplies themselves, collected in the fall by Appleton police officers, teachers and students, with contributions from hundreds of area individuals and several businesses.

The relief effort started last September, a few weeks after Hyman arrived in East Timor and encountered half-starved children whose school had been bombed.

The Chesapeake Bay Co. of Baltimore will transport the supplies for $6,900, about one-third of the company's cost. The company requires two weeks' notice.

The supplies which include everything from paper and crayons to an Internet-ready computer have been inventoried, boxed and secured by members of 395th Ordnance Company of the U.S. Army Reserves in Appleton.

Appleton police officer Steve Elliott, who has spearheaded the campaign, said he and other officers are hoping to raise much of the remaining shipping fee through small contributions.

They have eight days.

[back to top]

May 18, 2001 



For additional information or comment from Rep. Green, contact: Chris Tuttle (office) 202-226-7402 (pager) 800-759-8888 PIN#1754041 Shiloh Reiher (office) 202-226-7385

Wisconsin-East Timor aid effort moving forward again

After months of trying, more than three tons of medical and school supplies will soon be on their way from northeastern Wisconsin to children in East Timor

APPLETON ­ After a months-long emotional roller coaster ride filled with both triumphs and disappointments, area organizers of a relief effort to East Timor got a big piece of good news Thursday.

Steve Elliot, the Appleton police officer spearheading the local plan to ship more than three tons of donated medical and school supplies to children in the war-ravaged area, got a phone call from U.S. Rep. Mark Green’s office. Green’s staff explained that they had secured shipping arrangements to get the supplies to East Timor within the short time frame the group had remaining.

"It was an incredible feeling," Elliot said. "After all these months, after all our work, there was finally a real sense that we were going to get this thing finished. We still have a little way to go, and have some money to raise before this thing is done. But with these final transportation plans in place, we’re feeling pretty confident today."

Green had worked to help secure U.S. military transportation for the donated supplies, but when that option fell through earlier this year, his office went to work searching for more unconventional ways to get the materials to East Timor. After approaching over 80 non-profit organizations and private shipping companies, Green’s staff finally hit paydirt with a company called Chesapeake Bay Shipping. Chesapeake Bay is able to ship the items by sea, and expects it to take about 30 days for them to travel from Appleton to Dili, East Timor.

"Persistence pays off," Green said. "One way or another, we were determined to get the materials to these kids. The whole community came together to donate these supplies, and after all that generosity and effort, I felt we just had to find a way."

Dave Hyman, an Appleton police officer serving in East Timor as part of a United Nations peacekeeping mission, started the ball rolling on the effort when he wrote home last year asking for assistance in helping East Timorese children. Since then, over 8,000 pounds of supplies have been successfully sent. The group wanted to make sure this latest batch would arrive before Hyman leaves the area in August.

The cost of the shipping will be about $6,500. The group is accepting donations from corporations and the general public to try to get the supplies enroute as soon as possible.

Anyone interested in getting involved in the project can contact Steve Elliot at 920-832-5500.

- 30 -

[back to top]

East Timor aid effort clears final hurdle

Congressman secures transport for supplies from Appleton (May 19, 2001)

By Ed Culhane Post-Crescent (Wisconsin) staff writer

After months of running into dead ends, U.S. Rep. Mark Green's staff has found a way to get 6,900 pounds of school supplies from Appleton to the impoverished children of East Timor, Appleton police said Thursday.

The cost will be $6,500, according to Appleton officer Steve Elliott, who will restart a fund-raising drive today. This price is about one-third of actual shipping costs, he said.

Green's staff located a shipping company, Chesapeake Bay in Baltimore, willing to take a loss for the humanitarian effort.

"This has been a long haul," Elliott said, "but Green has done the job for us."

The people of the Fox Cities, having donated these supplies and two previous shipments, have already contributed $800 toward this final shipment cost, Elliott said.

The humanitarian supplies under the protective custody of the 395th Ordnance Company of the U.S. Army Reserves in Appleton have been sitting idle in a military warehouse for four months.

The original plan was for an airlift under a U.S. State Department program that allows military transport of humanitarian aid. Reservists with the 440th Air Wing in Milwaukee had volunteered to convey the shipment in a C-130 Hercules, but that flight was canceled in April when military commanders in Washington, D.C., determined that conditions in East Timor were too dangerous.

The goal has been to get the supplies to East Timor before Appleton police officer Dave Hyman ends a one-year tour of duty there with United Nations peacekeepers.

It was Hyman who pleaded for help from home when he arrived in East Timor last August and encountered children in the mountain region of Alieu whose school had been bombed into rubble. They had only the clothes they wore, he wrote home, and many suffered from malnutrition, malaria and dysentery.

The East Timorese have been struggling for independence since an invasion by Indonesian forces more than 25 years ago. When the East Timorese voted for democratic self-rule in a 1999 U.N.-sponsored referendum, militia forces formed by the Indonesian army laid waste to the countryside, killing tens of thousands of civilians before the U.N. intervened.

Hyman wrote his fellow officers in September asking for help. Police here approached the Appleton Area School District and teachers and students took up the cause.

Two tons of supplies were sent in two previous shipments. A private carrier donated the shipping cost.

The third and final shipment is nearly twice as large as the first two combined.

When the military airlift was canceled in April, police were faced with a dilemma. They needed to get the supplies to East Timor before Hyman's tour ended this August. But the price of shipping by private carrier exceeded $16,000, even when one company volunteered to move the supplies at cost.

Elliott had sought help from Green last December when the military airlift was being planned. When that failed, the the 8th District congressman stayed on board.

Green said Thursday that his district supervisor in Green Bay, Chad Weininger, made more than 80 phone calls to nonprofit agencies with any kind of a tie to East Timor. The hope was that the supplies could be added to other goods being shipped to the devastated country.

That effort failed, he said. Weininger than began contacting every shipping company and shipping agent he could find, making calls daily for weeks.

"This became a personal matter for Chad and our entire office," Green said. "There is no reason now that those goods can't get there. This is one of those wonderful times when everything is lining up right."

The shipment will travel by sea, Green said. It will take about a month, which means the remainder of the shipping costs must be raised within a next few weeks.

Elliott said he began approaching corporations and agencies in the Fox Cities today to finish the fund-raising drive. Any excess funds will be sent to Hyman to assist his efforts on behalf of the Timorese children.

* Donations marked for East Timor can be sent to the Appleton Police Benevolent Association, 222 S. Walnut St., Appleton, 54911. Elliott can be contacted at 920-832-5500.

[back to top]


July Menu
World Leaders Contact List
Human Rights Violations in East Timor
Main Postings Menu

Note: For those who would like to fax "the powers that be" - CallCenter is a Native 32-bit Voice Telephony software application integrated with fax and data communications... and it's free of charge! Download from