Charity ~ Jack Sauls is on a mission — to Uganda

Posted March 7, 2011 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Charity ~ 2,586 views


By Steve Cahalan | Lacrosse Tribune | By day, Jack Sauls is an engineering manager for compressor design at Trane’s La Crosse manufacturing facilities. By night, the 62-year-old La Crosse man and several other area residents are busy raising nearly $12,000 to buy textbooks for 1,100 elementary school students at two schools in Uganda.

Sauls and others in the Uganda Mission Ministry outreach program of the Onalaska Church of Christ hope to make a fourth trip to the impoverished African nation in May. A total of seven church members, in different combinations, made the first three trips, in 2006, 2008 and 2010. Sauls has been on each trip.

Since the first visit, Sauls and the others have helped support a church in Tororo, as well as Aturukuku Primary School for grades one through seven in Tororo, and more recently, Patewo Primary School, a rural school about 20 miles from Tororo.

Jack Sauls is helping lead an effort to raise money and supplies for schools in Uganda. He made his third trip there in January and hopes to return in May. PETER THOMSON photo

The group provided funds to help pay for construction of a new church building, as well as 13 bicycles for teachers at Aturukuku school and money for material and a tailor to make uniforms for its 100 most needy students. It also sent 26 cartons of donated books to the school. Half of the students at Aturukuku school are orphans who lost their parents to AIDS.

During the January 2010 trip, the group also gave students at Patewo school a dozen soccer balls and a dozen net balls.

The bicycle project led the mayor of Tororo to see to it that Aturukuku school was provided with electricity. The school also has been provided with a water connection through the outreach project.

Besides the nearly $12,000 that will be used to buy textbooks, Sauls and others with the outreach group will collect supplies and funds to provide their teachers with bicycles

and students with uniforms, books, encyclopedias, maps and atlases.

“I love to read, and the idea of these kids growing up without books really bothered me,” Sauls said.

The bicycles increase teacher attendance, Sauls said, as many of the teachers otherwise would have to walk miles to their school. “And that makes a big difference to the students,” he said.

His group now generally buys the bicycles, books and other items in Uganda rather than in the United States to help support that rural area’s economy and avoid high shipping costs. “We’ve learned if you can buy things there, you’re helping them,” Sauls said.

During the 2008 and 2010 trips, Sauls and his group delivered letters to Aturukuku students from students at Harry Spence Elementary School in La Crosse. The Aturukuku students in turn wrote letters to Harry Spence students. Sauls said the letter exchange will continue and expand to Patewo school.

“The kids here (at Harry Spence school) love it, and so do the kids there,” he said.

The Onalaska church’s Uganda Mission Ministry was established a few years after Samuel and Sylvia Osinde moved from Tororo to this area and joined the Onalaska church. The Osindes also are part of the outreach effort. During the Onalaska group’s trips to Tororo, its members stay at the home of Sylvia’s mother. Members pay their own way.

“They’re happy and energetic,” Sauls said of the students who are being helped through the group’s efforts. “It seemed to be so easy for those of us here to make a huge difference in their education.”

Sauls also has been on eight trips to the Dominican Republic as part of another outreach effort by the Onalaska church.

“We’ve simply seen opportunities to help others in the Dominican Republic and Uganda, and in turn, to learn from our partnerships with the people there,” he said of the church’s mission work.

He and his wife, Shirley, have two grown daughters, Jennifer and Hilary, and seven grandchildren. Shirley is a retired nurse.

Sauls was born in New Orleans and lived there until he was 12. He lived in Atlanta during his high school and college years and received a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Georgia Tech in 1970.

After graduating from college, he landed a job as an engineer for Pratt & Whitney Aircraft in Hartford, Conn.

He and his wife moved to La Crosse in 1973 after he was hired by Trane.

“I decided to come based on the work,” Sauls said, adding there were other things he also liked. “I had lived in Connecticut two-and-a-half years and there was a lot of hustle and bustle. It was quiet here (in the La Crosse area). And it was a very pretty. We’d heard it was a great place to live.”

Sauls’ hobbies are bicycling and reading.

“I started riding a road bike about six years ago and average about 3,400 miles a year,” he said. “I’ve taken four tours and in 2009 did a ride that took me about halfway around Switzerland.”

By Steve Cahalan |

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Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.


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