A recent college graduate from Port Orchard who was volunteering at a Haiti orphanage was killed when the Port-au-Prince earthquake struck, her family said Friday. Molly Hightower, 22, was on the fifth floor of a seven-story orphanage building in Petionville when it collapsed, the organization that runs the orphanage told her father Mike Hightower of Port Orchard.

A recent college graduate from Port Orchard who was volunteering at a Haiti orphanage was killed when the Port-au-Prince earthquake struck, her family said Friday. Molly Hightower, 22, was on the fifth floor of a seven-story orphanage building in Petionville when it collapsed, the organization that runs the orphanage told her father Mike Hightower of Port Orchard. Hightower went to high school at Bellarmine Preparatory School in Tacoma and in 2009 graduated from the University of Portland, where she majored in psychology, sociology and French. She arrived in Haiti in June for a year of service working for Friends of Orphans. She helped at an orphanage and at a hospital and also worked with disabled children. “Molly gave unconditional love to a group of kids who might otherwise not have had that love,” her uncle, Craig Hightower, told The Associated Press.She loved her work, but found it difficult when the orphans were taken away or died, her father, Mike Hightower, told the Kitsap Sun. “She said she was tired of going to funerals. She did quite a bit of that,” he said.Also injured when the orphanage collapsed was 26-year-old Erin Kloos, a University of Washington graduate and former captain of the Huskies swim team. Kloos was in stable condition of a south Florida hospital after being rescued on Wednesday, the organization said. The organization said this was her second stint working for them, first working from September 2007 to October 2008 and only recently returned.Kloos brother, Ryan, a 2008 graduate of the University of California-San Diego, died in the building collapse. Molly kept a blog about her experiences in Haiti called “525,600 Minutes” and wrote about the joys and challenges of her volunteer work. “We went to bless the babies that died in the hospital the night before, which I’ve never done before. It was devastating to see them be unwrapped, cleaned, blessed and rewrapped to be buried,” she wrote in December. 

In November, Molly wrote, “We had visitors Saturday so the kids had a big program with lots of dancing and music. The girls are such good dancers and are beautiful in their costumes!”

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