The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

June 29, 2012

'A giving heart': Whether it’s patients or orphans, woman’s mission is helping others

Frank Sojak

— Amber Haupt takes to heart her career and faith.

For the past two years, Haupt has been helping to keep heart patients healthy through her role as a physician assistant in the cardiology department at Memorial Medical Center.

She takes her faith seriously by helping others through her church, the Locust Grove Church of the Brethren, located in Conemaugh Township, Cambria County, and by leading mission trips to Honduras.

At Memorial, the 25-year-old works with patients on both an inpatient and outpatient basis.

“I enjoy educating patients about ways to improve their health,” she said.

The Johnstown resident said she works for a group of excellent physicians. She said her department also has a great team of nurses, physician assistants and other staffers.

Haupt and 11 others from her church and other churches are scheduled to return today from a weeklong missionary trip to San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

Haupt, who leads three or four mission trips each year, has been helping at the El Hogar De Ninos Emanuel Orphanage in that Central American country since she was 16 years of age.

The orphanage is affiliated with the Western Pennsylvania District of the Church of the Brethren.

The volunteers teach English skills to the children and organize activities such as soccer tournaments for them, she said.

“We take them on short trips to get pizza, ice cream and see movies,” she said.

“We show love to the children,” said Haupt, who serves on the board of directors of the orphanage. “We’re there to talk to them and to show them that someone cares about them.”

She said parishioners from her church and other churches donate clothing and personal hygiene items for the trips to the orphanage.

“If the children end up with a surplus of those items, we teach them to give back to the community by donating the excess to others who are less fortunate,” Haupt said.

She said there are many people from the Johnstown area who enjoy helping at the orphanage and take turns going on the trips.

At her church, Haupt teaches Sunday school to middle-school children, sings in the choir and is a member of the Mission Commission.

“I enjoy teaching the children,” she said, adding that she is young enough to relate well to the youngsters.

The Mission Commission helps local residents in need with heating bills and supports other local and national causes, she said.

“I enjoy helping out,” she said about why she is active at church.

Haupt said she has been blessed with plenty of support for her missionary and church work from her parents, Ray and Sue Haupt, brothers Justin and Tyler, grandparents and other relatives.

Brianna Baker, who has made many trips to Honduras with Haupt and was on this week’s mission, said Haupt is a compassionate person. That trait is evident in her work at Memorial, at church and on the mission trips to Honduras, Baker said.

Haupt enjoys going to Honduras because she has fallen in love with the children at the orphanage, Baker said.

“She really wants to help them,” she said. “She has a giving heart. The children really look up to her.”

Haupt has grown very close to a 7-year-old girl at the orphanage named Marisol, she said.

“They’re best friends,” Baker said, adding that Haupt and her family sponsor the girl.

Haupt’s uncle, Paul Hamilton, a youth minister at the Locust Grove Church of the Brethren, said his niece’s work in Honduras inspired him to become a minister so that he could help others.

“It was her example of want-ing to give of herself that was an inspiration for me to do the same,” said Hamilton, who also has gone on numerous trips to the Honduran orphanage and is a member of its board of directors.

He said his niece does a fine job of leading the missions.

“In our ‘me-focused’ world, she takes groups of young people to help them to experience life in a culture that is not as blessed as we are in the United States,” he said. “When they return, they realize how good they have it here.

“She loves the children at the orphanage, and she has a heart for other people.”

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.