“Ask what humanity needs, and go after it.”
Renel Noel was born in La Pointe Des Palmistes, Port de Paix, Haiti. His parents worked hard for their family’s survival in this economically devastated area, but Renel grew up poor, and often hungry, like his many friends and neighbors in northwest Haiti. Seeking a better life, as so many of our ancestors have done, he set sail from Haiti, finally settling in Miami, Florida, where he made his home for the next forty-eight years.
In many ways, Renel’s journey, a lifetime spiritual calling, began on the boat that carried him from Haiti. As he huddled in a corner, pockets empty, a familiar hunger gnawing at him, he counted his only possessions — hope for a better life and faith that God would guide him to it. At that moment, a kind passenger offered some fruit. As he desperately and gratefully devoured the tiny morsels, he contemplated the awful thing that was hunger. Constant. Relentless. Painful hunger. He was leaving his homeland, but he vowed that he would never forget the suffering of those he left behind. Feeling exhausted and afraid, but blessed by the gift of fruit that warmed his belly, he inhaled the salty mist and, with a cleansing exhale, dedicated his life to ending the hunger of his people, especially the children, for as long as he drew breath.
In order to serve others, Renel had to first make something of himself. He earned an Associate of Arts degree from Miami Dade College and studied business administration at Florida International University. He became a licensed irrigation contractor and started his own business, Lawn Sprinkler Wizard, Inc, which has operated successfully for the last thirty years. Always a family man, Renel’s children joined in the business and run it today.
Renel served in countless positions in numerous churches, but his service as an Elder, an Outreach Committee Member, at Miami Shores Presbyterian Church saw him tirelessly head humanitarian missions to Ecuador, Cuba, Guatemala, and his beloved Haiti. Knowing firsthand the pernicious poverty and human suffering so prevalent in northwest Haiti, Renel began to focus his attention on a children’s home, the House of Hope, and the nearby Beraca Medical Clinic, located in La Pointe Des Palmistes.
To increase awareness of the extreme conditions and to garner significant support for the people of La Pointe, in 2012, Renel founded Friends of Humanity 4 Haiti, a nonprofit organization.
Through Renel’s devoted and tireless leadership, and your contributions, Friends of Humanity 4 Haiti has fed and clothed hundreds of children at the House of Hope; renovated bathrooms for the children; built bathrooms for the Beraca Medical Center where only outhouses had existed, provided an ambulance; installed a water drinking system; and brought scores of volunteers on humanitarian outreaches to assist in work projects and give much needed love and hugs to babies and toddlers seeking medical treatment.
Renel lived his entire life, every waking minute, in service to his pledge to make life better for those less fortunate. But on June 7, 2022, Renel drew his final breath as the boat he had purchased for his latest project capsized on his way back to Haiti.
His life, and the vow he’d made on a boat all those years before, had come full circle. But Renel’s promise does not have to end here. While everyone at Friends of Humanity is heartbroken by the loss of our dear friend, we know his mission, his purpose, his work, must go on as long as the need is so dire. We must continue to “Ask what humanity needs, and go after it.”
And so, in that spirit, we are pleased to announce that Renel’s son, Jean Noel, is the new President of Friends of Humanity 4 Haiti and his daughter, Suzanne Noel, has become a member of the board of directors. They are committed, as are we, to upholding their father’s legacy of service, and his dream to end the suffering of the people of northwest Haiti.
We hope that you will continue on this journey with us. Renel could not do it without you, and neither can we.
And to our dearest, inexhaustible friend and leader, Rest In Peace, Renel. You have earned God’s blessings. And although no one can ever fill your shoes, we will carry the torch you have passed to us, and we will, with you always in our hearts, ask what humanity needs, and go after it.