Volunteers link arms to send supplies to the Philippines and Nigeria

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Physicians For Peace (PFP), an international humanitarian not-for-profit medical education organization, partnered with Filipinos, Nigerians and dozens of local Rotary Club volunteers last month o load two 40-foot shipping containers with essential medical supplies. One container is destined for the Adela Serra Ty Memorial Medical Center in Mindanao, Philippines, the other for three community hospitals in River State, Nigeria.

&uot;It’s significant that these two containers, now side-by-side, have destinations worlds apart,&uot; remarked PFP Philippines Project Team Leader and Board Trustee Juan M. Montero, II, MD, FACS. &uot;It’s yet another fulfillment of Physicians For Peace’s aim to use medicine as a peace-building tool around the globe, building bridges between diverse cultures, ethnicities and religions.&uot;

More than 30 volunteers from Physicians For Peace, Churchland Rotary, Great Bridge Rotary, Hampton Roads Rotary, Princess Anne Rotary, Rotary Club of Williamsburg, Interact and Ogbakov Ikwerre were on-hand to load the two shipping containers with hospital beds and mattresses, exam tables, wheelchairs, crutches, surgical supplies, optometric equipment, eyeglasses, operating room equipment, pediatric equipment and more at a north Suffolk warehouse.

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&uot;In addition to loading the two containers, volunteers sorted through 20,000 pairs of eyeglasses for shipment to The Philippines,&uot; noted Rotary Med-Link Director John Knight. &uot;Through the combined efforts of Physicians for Peace, Lion’s International Clubs and Rotary International Clubs, thousands of impoverished Filipinos have benefited from the eyeglass recycling and distribution programs throughout Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.&uot;

Nearly a dozen Ogbakov Ikwerre members joined the activities, traveling from Maryland, North Carolina, Florida and points in between. Established in 1995, Ogbakov Ikwerre is a non-profit organization in the United States with nearly 500 Nigerian members, working together to benefit their homeland.

&uot;The community hospitals in River State, Nigeria are accessible to the poor and have a great need for medical supplies,&uot; said Ogbakov Ikwerre Member Caroline Hejirika, RN. &uot;The dozens of adult’s and children’s beds in this shipment will be especially beneficial since the lack of bedding in River State has forced many patients to sleep on hospital floors.&uot;

&uot;Physicians For Peace is thankful to all the individuals who volunteered their time on Saturday,&uot; said PFP CEO Brig. Gen. Ron Sconyers (USAF, Ret.) &uot;We are especially grateful to PFP Board Trustee Edward A. Heidt Jr., The Penrod Company, Dr. Solomon Hejirika Sr. and Ogbakov Ikwerre for their generous support to fund the shipping of these two containers.&uot;

The mission of Physicians For Peace is to further the cause of world peace and international goodwill by providing quality medical care to those in need. Founded by internationally acclaimed humanitarian Dr. Charles E. Horton Sr., a Suffolk resident. Horton is the founder of Norfolk-based Physicians For Peace, which has conducted more than 350 medical missions in 44 countries. PFP

works closely with other medical relief and international aid organizations to improve health care in developing nations around the world. The organization uses medicine to build bridges between cultures and to create professional relationships between ethnic, cultural and religious rivals. Physicians For Peace is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that encourages financial and in-kind contributions to underwrite the administrative and actual expenses of its mission-based work. Visit www.PhysiciansForPeace.org for more information.