Where is the Crew?

The Crew

There are fifteen people deeply involved in Paddle to Haiti. The canoeists, however, consist of eight men and women from around the country who all share a wanderlust and a desire to promote positive change in the world. All of the people involved in the adventure will bring a unique and positive attitude, representing a variety of skill sets and areas of expertise.
Michael R. Gutschenritter
Last fall, I finished a southbound hike on the Appalachian Trail. Toward the end of it, my trail-buddy and I got to talking about what the next adventure would be. I wanted to explore more of the United States and he wanted to catch some fish. We suggested to each other that we canoe the Big Muddy. What's a better way to see the country and to troll a line? Unfortunately he is unable to join us, but the trip is still going on. I began to feel that I was really coming to learn my country but still felt a need to help the human population somehow. So, we got this charity underway and we'll be serving humanity and learning about our own homefront.   

Louis R. Gutschenritter
In 25 years, Louis has attempted to live by three main ideals passed down to him from his father, his mother and Taco Bell. My father taught me to "Carpe the Damn Diem" and constantly seek out fulfilling opportunities in life. As a result, I have traveled extensively, living in Europe, New England, South Florida, California and, most recently, Steamboat Springs, Colorado. My mother exemplifies helping those that have less and anything one can do to improve another's tenure on this planet is worthwhile. As a result, I participated in a 1,000 mile bike ride from Athens, Ga to Key West, Fl. in order to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. And lastly, I have learned that sometimes you get diarrhea, but if that happens, it's probably your own fault. I look forward to seeing the heart of this great country, meeting its wonderful citizens, and helping a nation in need. And I know that we will reap what we sow, the thousands of hours of effort we put in will make a difference and Taco Bell will yield the same results as it always has.

Amanda Stenman

I spend 90% of my day talking to birds and 10% trying to convince the world I am not a crazy person.  Birding is my passion and maybe you could even call it an obsession.   My present job as avian biologist for UCSB has allowed me to get in my daily dose of birding.  Through this job I have also had some realizations, like this one: Birds convincing me it is just like the fall migration, they will fly and I will float.  We all agreed migrating is a great adventure, full of new views and great appreciation for the environments this world has to offer.  Along this adventurous journey there is purpose in migration, the birds to find those trees, bushes, or snags that will enable it to build nest and spread your genes.  Mine to find those cities, towns, or villages that will help spread the support for Haiti.

Brett Poche

Brett is one easily distracted by shiny things.  The Mississippi River is like one huge shiny thing dangling in front of his face.  Thanks to the help of the Paddle to Haiti Founders, Brett has discovered a shiny thing to pursue that will not only quench his undying thirst for adventure, but also will enable him to support a cause that is not so shiny and in dire need of serious help.  As the self-elected chief electrician on the journey, Brett will be responsible for hot wiring solar panels to feed, bathe, and comfort the entire Paddle to Haiti crew.  As such, he cannot be held accountable for anything that happens in the shade or after dark.

Karrie Kressler
After a victorious thru-hike on the Appalachain Trail where she met Mr. Gutschenritter, Karrie, aka "Little Dipper," began searching for her next BIG thing.  Paddling the largest river system in North America and supporting the Lambi Fund of Haiti are certainly not small endeavors. She is very pleased to be aboard the team. This summer before the team sets off, she will be teaching a course in Survival Skills at her old elementary school.  As you read this she is making a fire.  She is also training for a half marathon, so she's running too.  If that isn't enough, she plans to thru-hike the Long Trail in Vermont as well.  This means she's probably getting rained on.  All the while with a smile. Life is an adventure--enjoy it!
Zach Wehr
Growing up in the state of Wisconsin I found my true love for the outdoors, community, and cheese. While my adventures have led me throughout the states, one thing that holds true is the support and ingenuity shown within communities. Traveling such a historic and iconic American river  will undoubtedly leave its watermark on us travelers, but hopefully we can leave our own in its communities along the way, the river, and the nation of Haiti. Waiting for those paddle strokes...

David Lathrop
David is a recent graduate from the University of Georgia with a degree in wildlife. His goal has always been to try and stay out of an office and instead spend time in the outdoors. So when he heard that he could spend 3 months on an adventure across the country and help a worthy cause at the same time it was a no-brainer. Can’t wait for the journey to begin.
Matt Bailey

A student and member of UGA’s ultimate Frisbee team, Matt Bailey decided that, before returning for his fifth and final year of college, he would go on an adventure that he is entirely unqualified for while helping to support a great cause at the same time. Traveling to (and backpacking in) such destinations as New Zealand, Peru, Ecuador, and Alaska have convinced him to attempt to delay adult life for as long as possible, and, to that end, he is eagerly awaiting the start of the trip.

Oscar Fonseca

Three months ago, Oscar was a 23 year old house keeper from Columbia, living in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  He joined up with the local frisbee team and became good friends with Michael, Brett, and Louis. When he heard of their plan to canoe the Mississippi River, discovering what they could about the country, the river and the American people and raising funds for rebuilding in Haiti, he was eager to sign on. He is enthusiastic about what he will be able to learn and how he can help make a difference in the world by raising money for Haiti.

Others involved:
Our parents. All of them. Especially the Wisconsin Gutschenritters for housing us and allowing us use of their home, resources and most of all, their time and enthusiasm. 

The couchsurfing community. Sooo many positive and helpful responses. If you don't know about couchsurfing, please check it out at www.couchsurfing.com. It is what the internet should be for.

Friendly strangers. Good people really are all over the place. 

All of our friends that have helped to spread the word. Because of you, we have resources. Everything from a place to stay to a warm meal to a connection at a local newspaper. Keep the resources coming!