Gengel family among honorees at annual HAU gala

Karen Keating Ansara of The Haitian Fund at The Boston Foundation, was the keynote speaker at the Jan. 7 gala dinner hosted by Haitian-Americans United, Inc. The 11th annual gathering was held in Randolph and paid tribute to a number of individuals and groups including Sen. John F. Kerry, whose award was accepted by Boston City Councillor Ayanna Pressley. Also honored for their continued dedication to the people of Haiti was the family of Britney Gengel, who was killed in the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake while on a humanitarian trip with her college. The Gengel family is now building an orphanage in Grand Goave, Haiti to keep Britney’s memory alive.

Sen. Kerry, also honored at the event, said in a statement of the Gengels: “It is hard to imagine the strength and compassion that Len and Cherylann found inside themselves not just to carry on after losing Britney, but to keep alive her passion and her idealism by helping the Haitian people for the long haul. The orphanage in Grand Goave isn’t just a home for Haitian children to grow and thrive, it is life itself, and there’s no better way imaginable to keep alive Britney’s spirit, compassion and dedication to service.”

The new orphanage will open next year. More about the project can be read online at

Photo courtesy HAU.