Continuing A Legacy: the story of Passion Rescue Mission
My name is Pastor Genese (Gene) Vertus, and I am the founder of Passion Rescue Mission. My story is one that continues the legacy my father started in Haiti, a legacy motivated by gratitude. My father was very fortunate as he was one of the few in the village of Francois, Haiti that was taught to read and write. He understood the importance of an education and always dreamed that the children in his village could have the very same opportunity. Later in his adult life, God made a way for his wife and all five of his children to properly emigrate to the United States, so they could all earn college degrees. His desire from then on, was to come back to Haiti and provide free education in the very community where he had learned to read and write as a child. For years, his tuition-free school helped change the landscape of the area as children living in these rural places now had access to education. After my dad passed away in 2001, the school was shut down for many years leaving the students that could not afford the tuition or the cost of uniforms without the chance for education. In 2009, I was fortunate enough to be able to re-open the school with the help of some friends. The school was dedicated and re-named after my late father, The Genecoit Vertus School of Excellence in honor of his lifelong missionary work and his willingness to give back.
My dad always instilled in me the importance of being of service to others and the meaning of giving back. I was fortunate enough to be able to come to the United States of America at an early age and get a free education. There is a big gap between the rich and the poor, I believe that an education can help us bridge the gap.
I feel blessed to return to Haiti and help pave the way for others to get a free education. I was born less than a minute from where the school grounds are located now so I know what it’s like to walk the dirt road barefooted; I know what it’s like to spend a day without knowing where the next meal is coming from; I was just like these kids and feel honored to be in the position to give back to the very village that I was born in.
I travel to Haiti at least five to six times a year and always make it a point to travel on foot, up the mountain on the same road the students walk every day to reach the school. I do this to always remember where I came from and to keep me rooted and grounded.
There is a big gap between the rich and the poor, I believe that an education can help us bridge the gap.