Services Set For Roanoke Rapids Minister Killed In Haiti

Services have been set for a Roanoke Rapids minister who died in last week's earthquake in Haiti.

Rev. Sam Dixon was the executive officer for the United Methodist Committee on Relief and was in Haiti to plan improvements to health care for the country.

A memorial service for Dixon will be held Thursday at the First United Methodist Church in Roanoke Rapids at 3:30 p.m. Dixon was a pastor at that church, as well as other churches in Sneads Ferry and Swansboro during his career in the church.

A Service of Death and Resurrection will be held Friday at the Edention Street United Methodist Church in Raleigh at 10:00 a.m.

Dixon is survived by his wife, three daughters and one son.


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During an interview with WITN on Friday, Cindy Dixon, the wife of Sam, was told around midnight Friday that her husband was still alive and received injuries to his feet.

When WITN arrived at Mrs. Dixon's home Friday morning, Dixon was still waiting to hear from her husband.

Christy Dixon of Swansboro, daughter of Sam Dixon, spoke to WITN Saturday afternoon.

"We were relieved to hear he was alive," said Dixon who spoke to WITN by phone.

"We believe he was alive at one point for a day or two. Right now we don't know what the time frame is on when he passed, " Dixon said.

This is the complete news release from the General Board of Global Ministries out of New York. The release talks about the death of Sam Dixon of Roanoke Rapids.

Courtesy: The General Board of Global Ministries:

The Rev. Dr. Sam Dixon, head of the humanitarian relief agency of The United Methodist Church, died before he could be rescued from the rubble of a hotel destroyed by the earthquake that hit Haiti on January 12.

The executive officer of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) was part of a group of mission and relief specialists trapped by the collapse of the Hotel Montana. Other persons in the group of five, including two more from the General Board of Global Ministries, were rescued and were back in the US by the morning of January 16. The group was pinned down for more than 55 hours.

Dixon was reportedly alive in the hotel ruins on the morning of January 15. Confirmation of his death before rescue was conveyed to Global Ministries through several sources, including eyewitnesses from a Methodist guest house in Port-au-Prince, where Dixon and his colleagues had been staying. Frequent press reports throughout the day on January 15 asserting his safety were incorrect.

He and the Rev. Clint Rabb, head of the United Methodist office of mission volunteers, and the Rev. James Gulley, a former missionary and now consultant to UMCOR, were at the hotel for meetings with representatives of other organizations, making plans to improve medical services in Haiti.

“Sam Dixon was a tireless servant of the church of Jesus Christ on behalf of all of us,” said Bishop Joel N. Martinez, interim general secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries. “His death is an incalculable loss to Global Ministries, UMCOR and our worldwide ministry of relief to God’s most vulnerable children. Our directors and staff extend their condolences to Sam’s wife, Cindy, their children, and their wider circle of friends and colleagues.

Bishop Janice Huie of Texas, president of UMCOR, said that Dixon “was an extremely gifted minister of the Gospel. He lived his life following the commandments of Jesus to feed the hungry, care for the sick, and love the least of these—all over the world. Jesus is holding him dear, and we are in prayer for his family.”

Dixon was a native of North Carolina where he served for 24 years as a pastor. He came to the General Board of Global Ministries in1998 to serve as director of field operations of the non-governmental agency (NGO) section of UMCOR. He then became head of the United Methodist Development Fund and moved up to head the unit on Evangelization and Church Growth. Dixon was tapped to head UMCOR in 2007.

He was officially a deputy general secretary of Global Ministries assigned to UMCOR, where he oversaw programs of emergency relief, long-term disaster recovery, economic development, health services, and peace-building.

Dixon was educated at the University of North Carolina and the Chicago Theological Seminary. He was a member of the North Carolina Annual (regional) Conference of his church. He and his wife have four children and two grandchildren. He is also survived by his mother and three sisters and a host of loving friends.

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A man from Eastern Carolina has been found alive amidst the rubble in Haiti after the earthquake Tuesday.

Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church says Sam Dixon of Roanoke Rapids has been found alive after 55 hours in the rubble of the Hotel Montana in Haiti. The church says Dixon sustained injuries and was going to the hospital. Two of his colleagues were also in the rubble.

According to the UMCOR website yesterday: "The three were in the lobby of the Hotel Montana when the earthquake struck on January 12. They were protected by a large desk in the lobby when the hotel collapsed. Rescuers discovered them late last evening and began to clear the rubble that had trapped them. Gulley is at the US Embassy awaiting transit home. Dixon and Rabb were last reported to still be under the debris, receiving medication and fluids through an IV."

Dixon arrived in the country just the day before. "When I heard the news, I texted my husband thinking he was perhaps feeling the tremor, but not right in the middle of it," said Dixon's wife, Cindy.

But in fact, the hotel where he was staying was turned into rubble. "They said a beam had fallen on his feet, and his friend had received injuries to his leg."

WITN spoke with Dixon's family Friday morning. His wife Cindy says Sam has leg injuries and was given medication at the site, but as of Thursday afternoon, he had not gotten to the hospital yet.

"There's an old country expression...I need to put my eyes on him, I need to put my eyes on him. I need to to feel him, I need to feel his body, I need to know he's really here," says Cindy Dixon.

She said she got the call around midnight that Sam and two other people on the mission were alive.

Now Cindy Dixon is waiting on more word, and as soon as she finds out where he is going to be, she is going to fly to wherever he is.

Click here to read the full alert from Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church on Dixon's rescue.




A husband and father of four from Eastern Carolina is missing in Haiti.

Sam Dixon of Roanoke Rapids has not been heard from since the earthquake in Haiti on Tuesday. Dixon is the top executive for the United Methodist Committee on Relief, which says they have not been able to get in contact with Dixon and two others from their organization.

Dixon's biography says he was the pastor at the First United Methodist Church of Roanoke Rapids, and also worked for churches in Sneads Ferry and Swansboro. He lives in Roanoke Rapids with his wife Cindy.