August 2023 Newsletter
As summer wraps up, we’re gearing up for the main event: our Fall Festival on October 21st. Medical Missionaries has been hard at work throughout the summer months, and in this Newsletter, we’ll share updates from Thomassique, Haiti, as well as news about supplies and equipment sent to various places, including Ukraine.
This past month, we were honored to take part in the MCPS Community Resource Fair at Osbourne High School in Manassas, Va. We’re also thrilled to announce that Dr. Gil Irwin will receive the Bishop Paul S. Loverde Missionary Award for Selfless Service on October 20th!
We’re in the final stages of earning our 2023 Top-Rated GreatNonProfits Badge, and we’re asking for your reviews of our work.
Don’t forget to grab your tickets for our Fall Festival on October 21st! We’ve got a fun day planned with lunch from Mission BBQ, wine from Doukenie Winery, drinks and desserts. Special guests include Pat and Jerry Skeens from the Rocklick Pantry in Grundy, Va., Mike Morch, DDS, a dedicated Medical Missionaries volunteer, and our emcee, Mo Barrett, a comedian and retired Air Force Colonel. It’s a day of celebration you won’t want to miss. Stay tuned for more updates in this newsletter!
Updates from Haiti
St. Joseph Clinic’s manager provided several updates this month. People damaged the road between the Clinic and the Dominican Republic. This damage has made travel to the Dominican Republic impossible. As a result, the Clinic’s ability to acquire necessary medicines and supplies has been restricted.
The Clinic is supporting efforts to arrange additional in-service training for the Clinic’s doctors with US doctors. The healthcare system in Haiti has been under strain due to a lack of stable leadership and ongoing gang violence. Although St. Joseph Clinic and the surrounding areas have not experienced direct violence, they are facing challenges related to shortages of food, water, fuel and essential medicines. Medical Missionaries is working with several organizations in an effort to acquire medicines, medical supplies and equipment in support of the Clinic. The photos below show both the challenges and the resiliency of the Haitian people.
Bending the Arc Documentary
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
If you are looking for something meaningful to watch on your next movie night, you won’t want to miss Bending the Arc. This documentary – available on Netflix and ProQuest – follows a group of ambitious advocates whose mission to save lives in Haiti turns into a global fight for healthcare equity and justice. This excellent film, released in 2017, reflects on the journey of Paul Farmer, MD and co-founder of Partners in Health (PIH). Medical Missionaries has partnered with PIH over the years in support of St. Joseph Clinic in Thomassique.
The documentary, especially the portions in Haiti, match many of the challenges that Medical Missionaries faced and continues to face with our work in Haiti. The documentary also shines a light on the human spirit and how good people can make a change.
Food Delivery to Grundy
Dr. George Bazaco and his friend Greg hooked up our trailer filled with food and holiday gifts and drove the 8 hour trip into Grundy, Va. on August 11th.
Medical Missionaries is concerned to report that we are shipping food to Grundy every two months, whereas before we were sending every month. This is due to not receiving as many non-perishable food donations. Let us know if you are interested in running a food drive. We would be happy to help you set one up!
We are always ready to accept non-perishable food at our Manassas office or via Amazon. . Check out the list of needed items at our web site.
We are celebrating the families and friends of Medical Missionaries on Saturday, October 21st at the Windy Knolls Farm in Nokesville, Va. Delicious food from Mission BBQ (which just won the Best BBQ of NoVa award!) is on the menu along with fine wine from Doukenie Winery and a variety of beer. We have several musical guests planned, along with line dancing hosted by W.I.L.D. and a live auction, raffles and a silent auction. We are delighted to welcome Mo Barrett as our Emcee!
Join us at the beautiful Windy Knoll Farm on an autumn day with our hosts Helen and Don Taylor. Tickets are on sale now!
Meet our Emcee – Mo Barrett
Mo Barrett is a catalytic comedian prioritizing laughter, learning and thinking (in that order). Retiring as a Colonel after 25 years in the Air Force, Mo ascended as a multi-minority in an organization that didn’t always welcome her openly. She rises above any one label, knowing her value is in the unique perspective she provides. Mo capitalizes on the magic in the mundane and leverages the lessons hiding in plain sight.
Mo graduated from the US Air Force Academy and piloted multiple aircraft including the T-37, T-1A, C-27 and C-5, and deployed to austere fields to establish airlift hubs from bare base conditions. Her mission in life is using comedy to create change through her energetic and unique presentation style, whether during a keynote, workshop or as an emcee.
Supplies and Equipment In and Out
Ukraine: We received the following email from Col. Monte E. Dunard, informing us of how medical supplies that are donated to them from organizations like Medical Missionaries are being utilized at the front lines in Ukraine.
Hello from Frankfurt, Germany. I am headed home from Kyiv.
We want to thank our partners for allowing us to complete another successful trip to Ukraine. We left mid July loaded with 500 pounds of checked baggage for the Poland/Ukraine border, where we linked up and were driven into Lviv, Ukraine. After sorting and organizing the supplies, we built and completed 65 IFAKs which were sent to front line units. We also prepared and loaded unit medic bags with additional items such as manual blood pressure monitors, stethoscopes, hemostats, large abdominal trauma bandages, extra tourniquets, syringes /needles, tape and extra gauze. We also gave about 100 pounds of hospital grade medical supplies to the 66th Mobile Medical Hospital for their distribution to forward evacuation stations and unit medics. The medics provided valuable feedback and reported that every item that was donated by your organization was greatly welcomed and gladly accepted.
The reports and thanks received from the units really make us feel confident we are making a difference. We saw the report that the Ukrainian government did not purchase or supply a single first aid kit last year for their troops; this work is all being done by volunteers who raise money, collect medical donation supplies, travel to Ukraine and build the first aid kits.
Thanks for your previous support and ongoing help. We appreciate what you do to help us help Ukraine.
Col Monte, The Traveling Colonels
Democratic Republic of the Congo : Our partners from Africa are shipping medical supplies and equipment to their projects in the Congo. They loaded several of their own trucks at our warehouse and will pack a container at their site. Items that are being sent over include wheelchairs, medical tables and other medical equipment that now will have a second life helping clinics in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
NOVA Fair Oaks Labor & Delivery delivered a van full of supplies that Medical Missionaries will be able to send to teams in need. These supplies, as with all things that we receive, are sorted, packaged and then sent out to our local community and around the world. The team has generously offered to deliver requested supplies to us in the future.
Local Community: The Manassas office is open six days a week. Everyday cars, vans and trucks stop by to bring us medical equipment and supplies, which are used for the local community as well as for shipments to other countries. These supplies are needed, but our most critical need is non-perishable food, which we primarily ship to the Rocklick Food Pantry.
Community Volunteers: We are very grateful for the volunteers who helped out in the Manassas office and Balls Ford Warehouse this summer. They helped us keep the office open and busy while our team members were able to enjoy visits to family and friends over the summer months. A special shout out to siblings Jonathan and Isabel, who traveled from the Arlington area several days over the summer, to move hospital beds, Hoya lifts and boxes of supplies. They certainly helped make the work go fast and easy!
Community Resource Fair
Medical Missionaries was honored to participate in the MCPS 2023 Community Resource Fair on August 12th at Osbourne High School in Manassas. It gave us an opportunity to network within our community and also to spread the word about our work. Thanks to Erin Stuckenschneider for creating the amazing posters showing Medical Missionaries projects around the world that really enhanced our table display at the Fair!
Here is a sample of a past review:
“I am so grateful for Medical Missionaries and the impact they have on our communities and around the world. They are so thoughtful with every cent donated stretching each dollar. I have been volunteering with Medical Missionaries for 4 years because I fell in love with the mission.”
Anyone can write a review! Please share your stories of how Medical Missionaries has impacted your lives!
Just click on this link. We would love to hear your story!
Bishop Paul S. Loverde Missionary Award for Selfless Service
Our Founder and President, Dr. Gil Irwin, will be receiving the Missionary Award from Bishop Loverde on October 20th. He is being honored for “his devotion and outreach over the last 25 plus years to the poorest of the poor, especially in Haiti, Dominican Republic and Africa.
His founding of Medical Missionaries is a beautiful example that they would like to share with the Commissined by Christ (CBC) community and all those who are called to serve.” Dr. Irwin will be in very good company that includes Msgr. Cregan, who won the award last year.