Member Tops Peak, Breaks Record to Aid Needy

    “Member Tops Peak, Breaks Record to Aid Needy,” Ensign, Feb. 2005, 78–79

    Member Tops Peak, Breaks Record to Aid Needy

    There isn’t any single characteristic that sets Carl Haupt apart as unusually newsworthy. Many people have a similar passion for hiking. He is a compassionate do-gooder, but the world is filled with compassionate people. And while ascending Tanzania’s 19,452-foot-high (5,900 m) Mount Kilimanjaro is noteworthy, climbers from around the world conquer the mountain on a regular basis.

    But combine the ingredients above and throw in the fact that Brother Haupt suffers from arthritis, battles prostate cancer, and has undergone nearly 30 surgeries in his 78 years and you’ll have something special.

    When Brother Haupt, of the Benson Ward, St. David Arizona Stake, decided to climb Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa, it was not to satisfy his passion for hiking; it was to help destitute families in Agua Prieta, Mexico.

    Brother Haupt began taking supplies to families there during 2003. “There were two of us who went, and we took a truckload of things,” he said. “I had heard about it but saw for myself the poverty.”

    Once he saw the one-room shacks families lived in and how hungry they were, Brother Haupt knew he had to do more. In little more than a year he made nearly 150 trips to the city just across the border from his home in Benson, Arizona. He and his wife even started a nonprofit organization called “The Starfish Difference.” But he felt as though there was still more he could do.

    Brother Haupt knew there were a lot of generous people willing to give money to make a difference, so when he planned his climb he asked residents of his area to donate one dollar for every 1,000 feet he climbed.

    The hike was far from easy. On top of the physical challenges was the mental obstacle—no one his age had ever accomplished the goal. The oldest recorded climber to top the mountain was 75. But Brother Haupt knew that every step could mean another piece of bread for a hungry child or another blanket for a cold baby.

    He began his ascent on August 25, 2004. By the end of his six-day trek he had achieved his goal—he had reached the top and raised nearly $6,000.

    Since then Brother Haupt has continued raising funds for Agua Prieta. He is now working to purchase a mobile home to be used as a health clinic in the town.