News Update

October 1, 2015
Nassau, The Bahamas

SEPTEMBER 30, 1922-AUGUST 19, 2015

Two days after the devastating Haiti earthquake of January 2010, I traveled to Port au Prince to work in the crisis response effort. Virtually the entire city was destroyed with over 80% of the structures collapsed or severely damaged. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed instantly and millions more were displaced and homeless. In the weeks and months that followed humanitarian and relief workers streamed into the country from around the world. Trapped in the chaos and ruins were tens of thousands of abandoned and injured children barely clinging to life, stranded and alone.

Late one evening as I rode through the burning slums of Port au Prince on a borrowed motorcycle, I came upon the remains of an orphanage in the northwest section of the city. On the partially collapsed entrance wall was the red hand-painted name "Rosemina". I climbed over the rubble and into the perimeter of the compound that contained two severely damaged buildings. Except for the filtered light from surrounding building fires, the night was completely black. There was no electricity in the area.  As I moved down a dark alley between the two structures I could hear the faint, soft voice of a woman singing a familiar children's song. As I moved through the darkness toward the voice, her words became clear: "Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world; red and yellow black and white, they are precious in His sight; Jesus loves the little children of the world".

I turned my flashlight toward the voice and was stunned at the image before me. Sitting on the concrete floor holding an infant in her arms, another in her lap, and  several more huddled around her feet was a beautiful, silver-haired elderly woman. I was speechless. After what seemed like an eternity, I asked her: "who are you?". She smiled and in a sweet, gentle voice replied: "I'm Betty Tisdale from Seattle, Washington".

I asked Betty how she managed to get to this place and under such extreme circumstances.  With little explanation she said that she had come to Port au Prince after the earthquake to "care for the children".  She was almost 89 years old. She had arrived in Haiti several days earlier and somehow made her way to Rosemina Orphanage. She brought no food, water or other provisions with her. She then asked me: "and who are you?". I explained that I had also come to Haiti to care for the children. We sat in the darkness talking for hours that night. So began my friendship with Betty Tisdale, who became the Guardian Angel of Critical Path International. Over the past five years Betty was a strong supporter of our mission to love, protect and care for orphans and abandoned children living in extreme poverty. She left us on August 19, 2015 to return home.

The following information was taken from Betty's personal website:

obit - “One person can make a difference.”: Betty dedicated her life to improving the lives of orphans and at-risk children in developing countries, including Vietnam, Colombia, Afghanistan, Mexico, Haiti and Tibet – providing shelter, nutrition, education, and healthcare.

Her first trip to Southeast Asia in 1961 was to work with An Lac Orphanage in Saigon, where she went on to adopt her five daughters to add to her five adopted sons from her husband. Her work quickly expanded to include clinics in Laos and Thailand and help for Tibetan refugees. As the war in Vietnam escalated, she made annual trips to care for the 400 children and babies at An Lac Orphanage. In April 1975, when the fighting came to within 12 miles of Saigon, Betty evacuated as many children as she could from the war zone; because of her heroic accomplishments she became known as “The Angel of Saigon.” The story of her dramatic rescue of 219 children is told in the movie, “The Children of An Lac.”

She was thankful for the multitudes of heroic persons that helped the endeavor: Senator Javits, Ina Balin, Mdm Ngai, all of the countless military persons and media of the time that made a difference along with the persons that opened their homes and hearts to adopt.

Betty has appeared many times on NBC Dateline, and her work has been reported in Life magazine, Chicken Soup for the Soul (1st edition), the book Give Joy to My Youth, and in numerous articles. She received The Presidential Commendation in recognition of exceptional service to others, the Medal of Honor from the Daughters of the American Revolution, and an award by the government of South Vietnam for humanitarianism. She received the International Service of Mankind Award from the Sertoma Club. In 1999, the Mayor of Seattle proclaimed September 15 Betty Tisdale Day. In 2003 she received the Caring Award in Washington, D.C.

She became a mother to children around the world.

Betty passed away gracefully in her Seattle home Wednesday, August 19, 2015, just shy of her 93rd birthday. She was comforted at the end by family and friends.

She will be sorely missed by her 10 children and 13 grandchildren, as well as by the thousands of people around the world whose lives she touched throughout the decades. She considered them all her extended family.

Betty donated her body to research, continuing her efforts to help others. She lived by her words, “One person can make a difference.” She will always be remembered for doing the work of angels.

Donations to her legacy, HALO (Helping and Loving Orphans) can be made at

Betty’s memorial service will be announced at a later time.

We will miss her deeply.


Charles P. Beall
Critical Path International Foundation
Nassau, The Bahamas

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