Legendary sportswriter Mitch Albom, who has told so many great stories through the years, became part of the story this week when he had to be evacuated from Haiti.

The longtime columnist for The Detroit Free Press told the paper he and nine other U.S. citizens had been in Port-au-Prince, Haiti visiting an orphanage when chaos struck the island nation.

“Well, we‘re pretty grimy and exhausted, but after two days of coordinated efforts, a group of us from the Have Faith Haiti Orphanage, including my wife and myself, were evacuated in the middle of the night from a site in Haiti (not our orphanage),” Albom said in a statement (H/T Patrick Andres, Sports Illustrated) Tuesday night.

Criminal gangs in Haiti have attacked prisons and the airport, and forced an estimated 15,000 citizens out of their homes in the capital city of Port-au-Prince, according to CBS. Bodies have been burned and are lying in the streets amidst the brutality.

Haiti Prime Minister Ariel Henry announced that he would resign, after notorious gang leader Jimmy Cherizier — known as “Barbecue”— threatened more violence if he did not step down.

The rescue effort was arranged at the request of GOP Congresswomen Lisa McClain of Michigan, after an “extremely distraught” constituent contacted her to share Albom’s group’s situation.

“It was a helicopter effort and was pretty crazy. I want to thank Cory Mills (GOP congressman from Florida) and Lisa McClain, who were instrumental in making this happen as an independent effort. We were lucky to get out,” Albom said.

The 65-year-old Albom has run the Have Faith Haiti Mission & Orphanage since a devastating 2010 earthquake killed some 100,000 people in Haiti.

Albom got his start in the business as a sportswriter, but later became a best-selling author who has sold more than 40 million books. His best-known work, Tuesdays with Morrie, was made into the critically acclaimed 1999 film. His 2003 best-seller, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, became the most-watched TV movie of the year in 2004.

[Sports Illustrated]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.