MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Saturday, January 12th marks three years since the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti, ending the lives of 300,000 people.
One survivor of the horror in Haiti wanted to mark the grim anniversary Thursday by doing something special for the people he credits for saving his life.
Blind, Juilliard-trained violinist Romel Joseph held a symbolic performance at Jackson Memorial Hospital with his son and daughter. Joseph spent more than 18 hours trapped beneath the rubble of his Port-Au-Prince music school before being rescued and brought to Jackson.
“I think this place will always be my home because that’s where I started – after the earthquake – to be alive again,” said Joseph.
He broke both legs, an arm and three of his fingers. He was sure he would never play the violin again.
“I couldn’t walk or anything,” said Joseph. “But I came a long way and I’m really happy to be here and performing.”
“We wanted to do something positive, that would put kind of a positive spin on the whole earthquake experience for him,” said Joseph’s daughter, Victoria.
His son, Bradley, said the family hopes to “make it like a yearly, sort of like we play at Jackson every year, almost like a holiday for us.”
Joseph plans to continue doing what he loves.
“I didn’t think I would be alive. Now that I am, I believe there’s a purpose, a reason for that. And it’s to bring more music to South Miami and to Haiti.”
Joseph spent three months at Jackson, undergoing several surgeries and intense rehabilitation. He is working to build a concert hall in his native Haiti.