Utahn who served mission in Ecuador starts fundraiser for earthquake victims

Posted at 7:27 PM, Apr 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-21 10:59:29-04

MILLCREEK - With the death toll from the earthquake in Ecuador climbing past 500 and the number injured reaching more than 4,000, Millcreek resident Connor Johnson said he needed to do something to help.

"Those are people that I taught, people I've stayed close with," Johnson said of the victims in Ecuador.

Johnson served a mission in Northern Ecuador for two years before returning home last year.

"It's really hard to see the pictures because those are places that I knew," Johnson added. "The house that the missionaries lived in is completely destroyed, and the house I lived in is reduced to rubble."

Johnson said he got a call from a friend of his, who described pulling bodies from the rubble. He told Johnson they listen for screams from underneath the concrete, but as the days pass by, the chances of finding survivors seems to fade.

"People say, 'We are thankful that you're home,'" Johnson said of friends and family. "I just think there's no place that I'd rather be. I'd like to be rolling up my sleeves and helping there."

Johnson and his wife Amy spent Sunday trying to find a way to help out.

"Suddenly, he said, 'Why don't we create a GoFundMe account?'" Amy Johnson said. "Within ten minutes, people shared it and now it's been shared over 400 times."

Since creating the page, $3,100 has been pledged.  The GoFundMe page can be found here.