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State, The (Columbia, SC)
January 6, 2005
Section: METRO/REGION
Edition: FINAL
Page: B1

COLUMBIA MAN ON MISSION TO HELP DEVASTATED AREAS
MAURICE THOMAS
STAFF WRITER

Tucker McCravy was in Columbia on winter break from Harvard when an earthquake and tsunami devastated several Indian Ocean countries in Southern Asia.

McCravy, 33, who speaks Japanese, French, Thai, and Tamil and Sinhalese, both spoken in Sri Lanka, wanted to do something to help. He traveled and taught English in the area for 10 years and in the last few years worked as an educational consultant.
He will leave Columbia on Sunday and spend three weeks in Sri Lanka, where he will team up with about 80 international volunteers.

"I will be a translator of sorts, helping with distribution and coordination of aid," said McCravy, who lived in Sri Lanka from 1994 to 1998. McCravy will also work with the assessment teams and serve as a media liaison.

He founded a nonprofit group, Serendib, which funds English immersion camps in Sri Lanka and Thailand and girls' education in Benin West Africa.

He has raised $2,500 for aid and hopes South Carolinians will help support his efforts to raise $15,000. The money will be used to buy supplies needed in the disaster area.

"There is a bottleneck of aid, still some small components that are missing," McCravy said.

For example, he received an e-mail about an area that had gotten food and water purification tablets, but had no cooking utensils to prepare the food.

He plans to work with the parts of the country not devastated to purchase needed items such as vitamins and medical supplies.

"We'll be taking the human resources on the ground in the country and matching them with resources gathered here in South Carolina and the U.S.," he said.

McCravy is the only boy in a family of five children. His sisters and parents are proud of him.

"We're so used to Tucker doing incredible things," said his older sister, Elizabeth McCravy, 35, who came from Charleston with her 11-month-old daughter to help out.

He started his own nonprofit group and has made some changes in the lives of people, she said.

She has been to Sri Lanka in the past to visit her brother, as have her father, mother and another sibling, Emily.

The family was together in Columbia and saw the devastation from the tsunami, Elizabeth McCravy said, and all have pitched in to help out.

The sisters have been running errands and handling media calls and donations so their brother can finish his class work. He is working on a master's degree before heading overseas.

"We brainstormed as a family about what we could do," Elizabeth McCravy said. "We knew Tucker would do something. We've done what we can do to stand behind him."

The house has been buzzing with phone calls from donors and visitors asking how they can help, said Elizabeth McCravy, who will help coordinate donations from Columbia.

The family is hoping Tucker McCravy's local connections will help bring out donations from South Carolinians.

"He's a local boy, and many people have been impressed with being able to support an agency in South Carolina that is small enough so they can see where their donations go," Elizabeth McCravy said.

Tucker McCravy is hoping to get a digital camera and other equipment donated to help document his efforts in Sri Lanka. Information regarding donations can be found on the Serendib Web site at www.serendib.us

Reach Thomas at (803) 771-8570 or mtthomas@thestate.com.


Illustration:PHOTO: COLOR

Tucker McCravy hopes South Carolinians will support his effort to raise $15,000 to aid victims of the tsunami. ERIK CAMPOS/THE STATE


Copyright (c) 2005 The State