Medical Missionaries May 2022

This May we held two successful fundraising events.  Read more about the Harris Pavilion 25th Anniversary Community Celebration and the Caring Hearts Online Auction in this newsletter. Thanks to all who participated in these fun events!

In this newsletter, we honor nurses around the world as part of National Nurses Week and highlight Debra Parrish who has dedicated her time and services to Medical Missionaries. We also share photos and results of recent fundraising events and discuss recent community outreach.

Spotlight: Debra Parrish, RN

Debra Parish memories
Debra Parish memories

Over the course of Medical Missionaries 25 years, many doctors and nurses have been instrumental in creating, managing and executing various projects.  Debra is one of those exemplary nurses that have supported Medical Missionaries mission.

Debra Parrish is a Registered Nurse (RN) who began her career in the Air Force after college. At Andrews Air Force Base she was the youngest female officer with a rank of 2nd Lieutenant at the age of 20. Upon leaving the Air Force as a Captain she began her next career at Prince William Hospital as an operating room nurse.

Debra met Dr. Irwin and went on her first Medical Missionaries trip as a surgical nurse and trip manager, organizing tickets, supplies, shipping, teams, etc. During the next 6 years she made trips to the Dominican Republic and then to Haiti when Dr. Irwin asked her to join their team there. She was a part of the team in seeing St. Joseph Clinic being built and was there for the dedication where the whole town came out in their finest dress and women cooked for days. Her last surgical trip was when the 2010 earthquake hit.

Debra’s memories include a man who walked 8 hours to the Clinic with a badly injured arm which had been hit by lightning. After recovering from having his arm surgically removed, he thanked staff for giving him his “good arm” and thankfully not having to worry about the bad arm anymore!

Another strong memory is that of William, a young child who she realized had a heart murmur when she put her arm around him. She was able to lead a team to have William evacuated to the Dominican Republic and then to Virginia where he underwent heart surgery.  She remembers fondly the many people who made that trip happen from American Airlines to Ronald McDonald House. After spending a month in the US where he charmed everyone he returned home and is now a healthy 22 year old.  After that experience Debra wrote the poem “Healing a Broken Heart.”

Debra faithfully remembers that there was always a reason for what happened often felt by a feeling, a word, a gesture. Debra continues to volunteer at Medical Missionaries, having realized there is a great need here at home as well as overseas. She organizes local friends and women’s organizations to collect food and make hygiene kits to send to those in need. Medical Missionaries is fortunate to have Debra still on its team.

25th Anniversary Event at Harris Pavilion

For all those who came out to celebrate our 25th Anniversary event, we thank you!

Our volunteer, Erin Jeans Stuckenschneider, created realistic life size dioramas for 9 of our projects, that included Grundy, West Virginia, Native Reservations, St. Joseph Clinic, disaster relief and local assistance. It was as if you were actually in those rooms and communities and were walking in their shoes.

Hats off to Dr. Mike Morch who put together a fabulous day of music with many of his fellow musicians who volunteered to entertain our guests. Many thanks to the other volunteers who made this event a success!

If anyone is interested in our team coming to an event in your community to demonstrate our projects please contact us at

Caring Hearts Online Auction

Our third annual online auction ended on May 29th. This year we offered 120 items for bidding on our site, Charity Auctions Today. We raised $2860 to support the many projects we do locally and globally.

We are so very appreciative of those who visited the site to look, bid, rebid and hopefully win! This year we added in new categories to reflect the work we do around the world which included artifacts from Haiti (thanks Dr. Mike Morch!) and Native American Reservations. An added bonus were original oil paintings by Dr. Gil Irwin, reflective of his many trips around the country visiting Reservations and other places on behalf of Medical Missionaries.

Christine DiStasio and Annie present at the Pennington school
Christine DiStasio and Annie present at the Pennington school

Pennington School Student Council

Medical Missionaries volunteer, Christine DiStasio was invited to attend the Pennington School’s Student Council Meeting in Virginia and speak of the work Medical Missionaries does. The Council was impressively attended by students from first to eighth grade. They all presented themselves as very knowledgeable and interested and asked great questions!

Thanks especially to Annie, an eight grade student, who did a project for Medical Missionaries two years ago and also organized one this month. The students collected boxes of food, diapers, hygiene items, etc to support our projects. We are very grateful for the continued collaboration with this delightful community of learners!

Urgent Need for Food Pantry Donations

Our pantry continues to need food items to support the Rocklick Pantry program in Grundy, Appalachia.  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. If you do send items to the office, please give the office a heads up so they can be on the lookout for the packages. The office can be reached at 703-335-1800. Thank you!

Non-perishable food items

  • Meat (chicken, corned beef, etc)
  • Fish (tuna, salmon, etc)
  • Stew
  • Chili
  • Soup
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Peanut butter
  • Cereal
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Grain products
  • Powdered milk


Supplies and Equipment On the Move

Grundy, Va, Rocklick Food Pantry – Our team drove to Roanoke, Va. this month to meet up with the team from Rocklick in Grundy.  The team handed  over 4,000 pounds of food, which will be distributed to the families and individuals in the area. Thanks always to those who give to this mission.

Manassas, Va, GeorgeTown South requested and received a delivery of adult and child diapers and cleaning solutions

Elkins. West Va., Bud and Alice from West Va. came in this month to receive a van load of clothing, hygiene products and housewares.  They were also given adult diapers for the nursing home in their area.

Winchester, Va. Community requested a large supply of adult diapers from Medical Missionaries which was delivered by a community volunteer.


Donation to Medical Missionaries in honor of their mother, Grace Lammond Kayatta
Donation to Medical Missionaries in honor of their mother, Grace Lammond Kayatta

Elks Lodge Donation.  The Elks Lodge dropped off a carload of medical equipment that included walkers, potty chairs, and other supplies. The women shown here made the donation to Medical Missionaries in honor of their mother, Grace Lammond Kayatta, who was very active with the Elks Lodge on Route 50 in Fairfax, Va. They said she would be thrilled to see her things being used for the good of others.

Support Medical Missionaries mission of helping the poorest of the poor.

You can help Medical Missionaries by donating money, donating supplies or volunteeringMany hands make light work. We thank you for your support!

Medical Missionaries May 2024

May flowers were blooming and Medical Missionaries was busy with the Caring Hearts Auction, sent containers overseas, partnered with other hospitals in Haiti — and that is only a taste. Read the rest in our newsletter.

Read More »