If you hang out in Downtown Sanford, more likely than not you’ve met Henry Dorvil. That’s because he’s the hardest working man in Sanford.
At various times in the last 3 years, Henry has worked at Shantel’s, Wops Hops Brewing Co., West End Trading Co., Celery City Craft, and who knows where else – usually at the same time. Henry rarely has less than three gigs he’s working at any given time.
Plus, he started his own video production company while teaching himself the business. He’s done pro bono promotional videos for the Keep Sanford Sparkling clean-up committee, the Sanford Welcome Center, the Love Your Shorts Film Festival and the Sofa & Suds craft beer festival. He also produced the commemorative video celebrating the 15th anniversary of Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe.
Henry loves Sanford, and he’s one of the Celery City’s biggest promoters.
But now Henry needs some love from Sanford.
Henry and his family immigrated to Central Florida from Haiti when Henry 5 months old. He grew up in Orlando, went to Orlando schools and graduated from Evans High School. His dad is a U.S. citizen, his mom is a legal permanent resident and all his siblings are U.S. citizens. Until a few months ago, Henry was unaware there was an issue with his citizenship status.
I don’t understand how the immigration system works. Somehow a young man who has lived in the U.S. since he was an infant – and whose entire family are citizens and legal residents – is classified as an illegal immigrant. At this point it doesn’t matter why or how it happened. In December, Henry went back to Haiti to resolve the issue, but he’s now stuck in the country.
Henry sent me several voice messages through Facebook Messenger (He was to walk 8 miles to an internet cafe to send messages through Facebook. On one of the messages, I could hear roosters in the background). He is on track to return to the U.S. as a legal resident, but the process is extremely slow. Haiti is legendary for it’s bureaucracy, and the devestation caused by Hurricane Matthew last fall has only made things worse. Henry told me the that the immigration office is currently working on applications from June 2016.
Henry has applied to expedite his paperwork. In order for that to be approved, he needs to prove his value as a citizen to the Sanford community. What that means is he needs letters from local citizens, business owners and city officials proclaiming his value to our community.
It’s important Henry is successful in expediting his case because his mother is disabled. She relies on his help to run errands or help getting her to the doctor. Plus, Henry works all of those jobs because he helps his mother financially, too.
Henry’s video production company is named “Good Vibes Production.” That’s as perfect of a name as any business has ever had because Henry is on par with the Pope when it comes to sending out good vibes. The dude is just flat out the most positive person I’ve ever met. Even in his current situation, Henry has an unshakeable positive attitude. He says he’s relying on his faith in God and his fellow man to resolve his citizenship status.
So here’s the question, Sanford: What are you going to do to uphold Henry’s faith in our community?
It’s not hard. If you know Henry, write a letter. Even if it’s just a few sentences, write a letter expressing why Henry is an asset to Sanford. If you have a business, please put it on your company letterhead.
The letters have to be faxed to Haiti officials before April 7. Christina Hollerbach is coordinating the faxing of the letters. You can email them to her at Christina@Hollerbachs.com.
Regardless of how the federal government officially classifies him, Henry is as much a citizen of Sanford as any of us who love this city. Let’s prove it to the immigration officials. Please write a letter, share this on your social media outlets and use #HelpHenry.