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Killingworth man putting the pedal to the metal to help Haiti

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NORWICH--Dan O'Sullivan is a man on a mission--to direct a mission trip.

The 61-year-old Killingworth native is training for a massive undertaking to help raise money to rebuild in Haiti.

Five years after earthquakes shattered the country, leaving a trail of rubble, O'Sullivan wants to help those who have lost everything.

"It's a powerful impact, just seeing the incredible need," he said of the Carribean country.

O'Sullivan is the director of administration and programs for Outreach to Haiti, a sponsored ministry of the Diocese of Norwich that provides education, healthcare, community development, spiritual support and opportunities to match with parishes in Haiti.

Through Outreach to Haiti, O'Sullivan will participate in "Ride to Rebuild," a six-day, 339-mile bike ride starting September 28 to raise money and awareness for the needs in Haiti.

The ride will begin in Kittery, Maine, and will end in Southbury, Connecticut, creating a virtual trip across Haiti--the distance is the same as the longest trip through Haiti. The route  was chosen in an effort to pass by all the parishes and schools in Connecticut that are "twinned," or paired, with parishes and schools in Haiti through Outreach to Haiti.

Maps of Haiti (left) and the bike trail through the Northeast (right)

Maps of Haiti (left) and the bike trail through the Northeast (right)

"You average 57-58 miles a day," O'Sullivan said of the plan for the trip.

The bike ride is to raise money to help rebuild the Outreach to Haiti building in Port-au-Prince, which was destroyed in the 2010 earthquake. The goal is to raise $350,000, and so far $220,000 has been gathered. O'Sullivan hopes to raise an extra $20,000 through the bike ride.

"Right after the earthquakes we built a plywood, tin roof kind of structure, and that's where our clinic runs out of now," O'Sullivan explained.

Outreach to Haiti was formed when Hospice St. Joseph for the Diocese of Norwich and Haitian Ministries for the Diocese of Norwich merged in 2010, a few months after the earthquake. Haitian Ministries has operated for more nearly 30 years, working to help the poor through a healthcare clinic, nutrition programs, education programs and cultural immersion trips, among other methods.

"We also help educate Haitian children, which for a long-term answer in Haiti, you have to educate the generation as it comes up so they can start taking care of themselves and they don't rely on aid," O'Sullivan said.

To donate to the organization, click here.