In 1988, Father Gene Kutsch of St. Anthony Parish, Dubuque, Iowa, established a sister relationship between St. Anthony and St. Monfort, Port-de-Paix, Haiti, as part of the Haiti Parish Twinning Program. The two parishes have had an ongoing relationship ever since, with St. Anthony parishioners and pastors providing materials, food, medical assistance and spiritual support to the St. Monfort parish and school.
With St. Anthony's help, St. Monfort has provided great assistance to the poor community it has been serving for about 75 years. In addition to donating food and clothing, the church has provided shelter during many heavy tropical storms, which have caused the church to lose much of its roof structure. With no money to fix the roof and other damaged areas, the structurally unsafe building sat in disrepair as water poured into the building during storms.
In early 2009, Jim Giese, owner of Jim Giese Commercial Roofing Inc., Dubuque, learned about the damage to St. Monfort through an acquaintance involved with St. Anthony parish.
"He mentioned St. Monfort had a roofing problem and asked whether I would look at some photos of the damage," Giese says. "When I looked, I said: 'They have a lot more than a roofing problem.' I told him what I thought the building needed and made a list of the trades that would be required—but St. Anthony didn't know where to go with it, so they came back to me."