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Ralph Gedeon '14

Alumni Success Story

Haiti Earthquake Survivor Gets A Leg Up On Future

Ralph Gedeon ’14 has endured a difficult journey from his earthquake-ravaged home in Haiti to college graduation at RCC, but his thoughts are fixed squarely on the future, not the past. “Once you get an education in the US, you are a man of the world,” he says. “You are free to do what you want to do.”

Gedeon was attending classes at a Port-au-Prince engineering school when a massive quake rocked the island nation on Jan. 12, 2010, trapping him in the collapsed building and severely injuring his left leg. After initially refusing a life-saving amputation to avoid burdening his family, Gedeon agreed to the operation. Rockland resident Ayal Lindeman, who assisted survivors in Haiti, arranged for Gedeon’s surgery and medical care in the US and his enrollment at RCC.

With a new prosthetic leg, Gedeon began his life as an above-the-knee amputee. “I lost about 30 percent of my life,” he says, “but I had a lot of motivation to keep me going.”

Gedeon took a pair of English as a Second Language classes at RCC during his first year and enrolled full-time in the Spring 2012 semester. He pursued a pre-engineering track and graduated with an AS in Liberal Arts: Math & Science. “RCC was a great choice for me,” he says. “I got an education for myself and it helped me to move on to another school.”

Gedeon, of Spring Valley, transferred to SUNY Maritime College to study mechanical engineering. He is leaning toward a career in the shipping industry, working as a mechanical engineer on commercial maritime vessels.

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