Photos by Karston Tannis
Jack Brewer has long-enjoyed spending time giving back in Haiti, but bringing along former Vikings teammate Byron Chamberlain made his most recent trip that much more special.
Brewer (2002-03) and Chamberlain (2001-02) recently returned from a Global Ambassadors tour to the Caribbean country. While the trip marked Chamberlain’s first to Haiti, Brewer regularly visits the community that he has grown to love.
“Haiti is home to me,” Brewer said. “It’s a blessing to be able to bring close friends and former teammates to the country to experience the culture, meet the people and give back to those in need. It’s an amazing experience to see these guys have such a passion to help those in need.”
The two joined a group of nearly 100 individuals as part of the Jack Brewer Foundation’s long-standing efforts to empower women and children living in impoverished and underdeveloped communities by enabling food security, promoting access to education and cultural exchanges, assisting in medical aid and disaster relief, and building peace.
According to the program’s mission statement, JBF Worldwide uses sports as a catalyst to provide resources and opportunities to the world’s most underserved populations.
Chamberlain, who received a Pro Bowl nod in 2001 and previously earned back-to-back Super Bowl rings (1998-99) with the Broncos, said that traveling to Haiti with his former Vikings teammate was a “life-changing experience.”
“Out of all the places I have traveled in the world, I have never seen so much poverty and need,” Chamberlain said. “The work that Jack and his foundation are doing over there impacts so many key aspects of their society.”
This year’s JBF Global Ambassador’s delegation included a number of former and current NFL players, including two-time Pro Bowler Clinton Portis, two-time Pro Bowler and Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap, and Patriots safety Sergio Brown.
In Haiti from April 7-11, the group made an impact on the community through a full agenda that included the following endeavors, among several others: delivering more than 500 pounds of basketball equipment to Haiti’s first national baseball league; participating in a Starkey Hearing Foundation Mission in Cité Soleil; delivering part of JBF Worldwide and CitiHope’s donation of $69 million in medicines, currently being distributed to medical facilities throughout the country; and hosting a celebrity sports series with soccer, volleyball and flag football games.
For Chamberlain, highlights of the trip also included the ambassadors’ visit to St. Luke’s hospital, where they met with cervical and breast cancer patients, and working with the youth at Hope Centre Orphanage.
“Watching them enjoying the clothes, clean water and computers that were donated through the Jack Brewer Foundation [was so memorable],” Chamberlain said of his time at the orphanage. “The most impactful part of the trip was our visit to Cité Soleil. Seeing the extreme poverty really made my heart bleed.”
Added Chamberlain: “I was so happy that a couple of Vikings could help to make a little difference in some lives in Haiti. I’m extremely proud of my friend Jack Brewer and the work his foundation is doing globally. SKOL Vikings!”
Chamberlain and Brewer are not the only Vikings making a difference in Haiti. Linebacker Emmanuel Lamur, whom the Vikings signed as a free agent in 2016, annually spends time in Haiti volunteering at the Mission of Grace orphanage. To read more about Lamur’s efforts and charity, click here.