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Britney Gengel

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Britney Gengel Obituary
The parents of Lynn University student Britney Gengel received the tragic news today that their daughter's remains had been recovered from the collapsed ruins of the Hotel Montana atop a hillside near Port-au-Prince, in Haiti.

In a statement sent out by the university, Britney Gengel's parents, Len and Cherylann Gengel of Rutland, Mass., called Britney their Valentine, and thanked the many rescue workers and elected officials, including Sen. John Kerry, who helped them fight to find their daughter.

The 19-year-old had been a sophomore at the Boca Raton college when she decided to join a three-week program the university offered called "Journey of Hope."

Twelve students and two faculty members were on the voyage to help feed the poor and visit orphanages when the earthquake struck on Jan. 12. Eight of the students returned safely, but four others, along with their professors, were inside the hotel when it collapsed.

An hour before the quake hit, Britney Gengel had phoned her mother to say she felt she had found her calling in life, after touring an orphanage.

"We sat with her before she left and talked about this trip being a life-changing event. We never knew that this trip would change our lives and hers forever," the Gengels wrote in their note of thanks for their daughter's recovery today.

"Even though our hearts are breaking, we are so grateful to the men and women who have worked at the Hotel Montana for the past 33 days."

Other students whose remains have been found include Christine Gianacaci, 22, a sophomore from Hopewell, N.J and Courtney Hayes, 23, of Douglas, Ga.

Lynn University faculty Dr. Richard Bruno, 59, a family practice physician, and Education dean Patrick Hartwick, 53, have also been confirmed dead.

The Haitian government estimates that more than 230,000 people perished in the devastating earthquake.
Published in The Palm Beach Post on Feb. 14, 2010
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