Greetings from the beginning of a beautiful summer! We hope all is sunny wherever you are following the work of Medical Missionaries. We appreciate your support every month of the year! This month we celebrated Flag Day on June 14th, the first official Juneteenth Day on June 19th and honored fathers all over the world on Fathers Day, June 20th. June is National Pride Month, National African American Music Appreciation Month, and National Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness month. As we celebrate diversity in our community and the world we reflect on how much we are alike while celebrating our differences.
Spotlight on Carolyn M. Little
Carolyn Little was born on a small farm in Pennsylvania as one of 12 children! The family was strong together as they helped one another to better their lives. When Carolyn and her family moved to a small town she remembers other people in their new community giving them clothes and shoes to help them out. Although this was embarrassing to the family, especially Carolyn, she was very grateful for that help at a difficult time. That memory has served Carolyn well as she now helps others in the same way, giving food and clothing to those desperately in need. Another way she has found to help is to spread the word to friends and family to donate what they no longer need.
Carolyn first met Dr. Irwin (President of Medical Missionaries) when he was her primary doctor. He helped her through some major health issues and still continues to support her. During their talks, he would often speak of his work with Medical Missionaries. Carolyn was amazed at the scope of the work being done by the organization. Today, she continues to be a vital part of our volunteer team by collecting donations needed by the people Medical Missionaries serves.
Positions as a stenographer in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Health Department and Clinical Research Associate for a pharmaceutical company enabled her to travel and engage with healthcare professionals. Her husband’s work took her to Ecuador, where she become aware of the poor living conditions near Cotopaxi Mountain. She is very well traveled and is the proud mother of 4 children and many grandchildren who all have giving and kind hearts, for which she is very thankful.
IN MEMORIUM: Peter Dirr, Ph.D.
Dr. Irwin made a trip to Florida on June 24th to attend the Mass and Memorial Luncheon for our former Board Member Peter Dirr, Ph.D., who passed in May 2020. With over 250 of Dr. Dirr’s family and friends in attendance, it was clear he had a significant impact on countless lives. Dr. Irwin spoke at the event to express his appreciation for Dr. Dirr’s dedication to Medical Missionaries for 20+ years. Dr. Irwin and Father Jack O’Hara were there to represent Medical Missionaries and to present the family with a beautiful montage portrait of the extensive and powerful work that Dr. Dirr did for the people of Haiti.
Also in attendance was Bernadette Dirr, Dr. Dirr’s sister who has been instrumental in managing our social media, editing correspondence and grant writing for Medical Missionaries. We are grateful to Bernadette for her volunteering over the years and her guidance and vision for marketing. Thank you to Melanie and Tom Ebert who managed the office while Dr. Irwin was away.
Supplies and Equipment On the Move
Outgoing Supplies and Equipment
Destination: Appalachia, Southwest Virginia
- Dr. George Bazaco made the trip to Grundy, Virginia at the end of June. He was there delivering the 4,000 pounds of food collected by Medical Missionaries volunteers monthly.
Destination: Northern Virginia
- Medical Missionaries donated several truck loads of adult diapers to various nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Destination: Guinea Bissau, West Africa
- Volunteers loaded a sea container on June 12th that started its journey with its first stop in Norfolk, VA and its final stop in Guinea Bissau, which typically takes a few months.
Destination: East Cherokee Reservation, North Carolina
- Dr. Irwin, on his way to attend the memorial for Dr. Peter Dirr in Florida, made a stop in North Carolina to the East Cherokee Reservation Distribution Center. His truck was loaded with sports equipment, hygiene packets (made by Trail Troop 1914 and their leader Michael Judge) and school supplies and clothing. They were very grateful for all these donations!
Incoming Supplies and Equipment
New Van! We are so very excited to let our readers and supporters know that Medical Missionaries was able to secure a van for the community in West Virginia! Our colleagues, Bud and Alice, have been making the long trip in their car to pick up needed items for their community members. Now they will have a van that we can fully load up each month with your donations.
Gift Cards for Caring Hearts Auction – Thank you to those who have donated items and gift cards to be auctioned off during our fall to support our Caring Hearts Online Auction scheduled for the Fall. Since we are appealing to a larger audience we find that everyone loves a Gift Card! There is still time to donate gift cards. They can be mailed or dropped off at the Medical Missionaries office.
NEEDED: Food and Hygiene Items: Our pantry is in need of food items to support the Rocklick Pantry program in Grundy, Appalachia. We are also in need of hygiene items such as soap, washcloths, toothbrushes and toothpaste. We have been sending a lot of these items out and our supply is getting low. Any items you can donate are greatly appreciated and can be dropped off at the Manassas office or can be purchased online through our Amazon Smile list.
List of food pantry items that we need.
St. Joseph Clinic, Haiti Update
Dr. Mike Morch, dentist, made a trip to Haiti in June to visit the areas’ Dental Clinic. Volunteers from the Manassas office loaded up a suitcase full of toothbrushes and toothpaste to support local hygiene efforts. Dr. Morch and his Assistant, Mary, treated patients who hadn’t seen a dentist in a long time and offered training to staff.
Dr. Morch was very impressed with how well the Clinic Staff has taken charge. He commented on how well kept the clinic was. It was clean and freshly painted. All the facilities are in good working order.
The Clinic Staff reports that electricity is generally available for only a few hours a week. In those situations the Clinic stays dark unless there is an overnight patient. Thankfully they are able to use the generator as needed. The Staff also reported that the water supply has been steady, in part because it is Haiti’s rainy season. Water is critical for good hygiene practice, both in homes and the Clinic.
The Container Arrived at the Clinic!
For everyone who has been following the trip of the shipment of 90 boxes packed and sent via sea container to our Clinic in Haiti: great news! It has arrived! The staff had been anxiously awaiting this shipment, especially since supplies have been very difficult to get into the country given the pandemic and political unrest. They have been unpacking, inventorying and shelving all the supplies and medications for use in the Clinic and the outlying villages.
On his recent Wednesday Team Call Dr. Lawrence, Clinic Administrator, asked us to send a heartfelt thank you for all the supplies that were sent to the Clinic!
Haitian Fun Fact – Tooth Fairy Rat?
Dr Lawrence’s daughter lost a tooth while jumping around. Haitians put the tooth on the roof of the house and ask the rat to bring back a good tooth. Slightly different than our tooth fairy!
Eagle Scout Project – Support Vy Tran
Hello everyone! My name is Vy Tran, and I am a Scout from Troop 904 in Springfield, VA. In order to go to the eagle scout rank (the highest rank), I must do a service project. So, I have decided to make family dental hygiene kits for people in Haiti!
I will be so grateful if you could help me in this journey, by donating materials and spreading the word to anyone! I am requesting toothbrushes, tubes of toothpaste (not travel size), and reusable floss threaders. All materials are able to buy in packs, and in stores around you.
If you would like to contribute, please drop off these items off at Medical Missionaries (9590 Surveyor Ct., Manassas, VA 20110) by the end of July, and thank you for your time and consideration!
Dr. Gil Irwin’s grandson, Justin Davison, received an award from Robert J. Wittman, Member of Congress, for achieving rank of Eagle Scout and in particular, to recognize his dedication in building the roof structure for the Medical Missionaries truck. Congressman Wittman honored Justin for his initiative in organizing and overseeing the project and for his dedication to people in and beyond his community.
He was lauded for his “excellent example of commitment and perseverance to his peers and community.” We salute Justin and all young people who are making a difference in the world!
New Volunteers Welcome!
Did you know that Medical Missionaries is made up entirely of volunteers? We love our volunteers and are always looking for new volunteers. All ages and skills are needed. Our youngest volunteer is 5 years old and the oldest is in their 90s. Please checkout our website for opportunities. Not sure what you want to do? No problem, we can work together to find your place.
Groups Too! We are receiving more requests to partner with groups interested in doing a project to meet the needs of Medical Missionaries clients. If you know of such a group please contact us. The young people who have partnered with us have benefitted from knowing that they are helping so many people who are in need and in different circumstances than their own.
Load the Container Sign Up
We are looking for volunteers to help load containers of medical supplies and equipment. It usually takes about 3 hours to load a container and requires some lifting of boxes and equipment. If you would like to volunteer and receive the SignUp Genius link, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
News from the Fundraising Committee
Our Fundraising Committee, which meets monthly, is busy making preparations for our Caring Hearts Online Auction in the fall. We also plan to host a Holiday Virtual Dinner in the winter; thanks to all of you who made our first one such a success! Our Committee always welcomes new ideas, suggestions and especially people so if you would like to join in, even for a project, we would love to have you! Reach out to Christine.Distasio@medicalmissionaries.org
The Human Services Alliance of Prince William County
Patti Tutalo attended the Human Services Alliance of Prince William County networking breakfast (in person!). In addition to meeting other amazing nonprofit organizations in the county, there was a panel of experts on grants. This is a start to many more conversations and information sharing among top caliber nonprofits making the world a better place.
Jose David’s Paintings
In our last issue we shared the story of Jose David, a man challenged living with paraplegia. His wonderful and committed nurse, Ileana Harbour, wrote of Jose David’s paintings that they would love to share with the community. If you are interested please contact Nurse Harbour at email@example.com.