GECI VOLUNTEERS ARE REAL AWARDS WINNERS!
GECI volunteers give their time and talents for the deep sense of fulfillment and joy they find in helping their fellow man. But at the end of our Zambian mission this year, they received something extra! It was the last time they’d be dining together in Zambia. As they had done at every meal during their stay, they took the opportunity to chat while winding down from the events of their busy day. That’s when one of the team members surprised them! Dr. Sims got their attention as he pushed himself away from the table and walked to the front of the courtyard where everyone was seated. He held what looked like folders in his hands. Giving one of his bright, memorable smiles, he began speaking. “You have come from all areas of the world to provide your services to the peoples of Zambia,” Dr. Sims said. “You have dedicated your time, money, and resources to help the underprivileged here. For that, you deserve special thanks.” The next thing that happened made everyone smile! Dr. Sims quietly called each volunteer’s name, one by one. As they approached, he handed each an Appreciation Award. The awards were signed personally by the Zambian minister of health. With hugs, handshakes, and more heartfelt smiles, Dr. Sims invited everyone to work with him again on future missions.
Each volunteer told us how extremely touched they were by Dr. Sims’s sincere expression of appreciation. The awards will be treasured always!
Meet our volunteers!
Lou R. Hand Mugica, M.D.
Board-Certified Ophthalmologist · Chief Pediatric Ophthalmologist, Dr. Chris Allens Eye Clinic Foundation, Buenos Aires, Argentina · Volunteered time and skills to missions in various areas within Argentina and Zambia.
Christopher T. Smith, M.D., PH.D.
Board-Certified Ophthalmologist with a PhD in phacoemulsification. In private practice since 1990. Special interest in Cataracts and Refractive Surgery. Director of Ophthalmology Service Hospital San Juan de Dios, Tenerife, Spain, since 1995. Medical Director of Tenerife Vision Institute. Has volunteered to Mexico since 1996 and to Zambia since 1998. He uses phacoemulsification at every Eye Camp and teaches the host ophthalmologists how to do phacoemulsification.
Renee Shane Beardsley, M.D.
Board-Certified Ophthalmologist · Special interest in the treatment of cataracts and glaucoma · In private practice since 1988 · Former Department of Ophthalmology Chairman, St. Mary’s Hospital, New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada · Served on St. Mary’s Hospital Surgical Liaison Committee, Medical Advisory Committee, and Quality Improvement Committee · Volunteered time and skills to missions in India, Nigeria, and Zambia.
Linda Jane Lee
Ophthalmic Practice Manager, Palo Alto, California · Active in the Cataract Prevention Campaign during our recent mission to Zambia · Mrs. Lee holds a degree in education and worked with grade school children and students with learning disabilities before joining her husband’s practice.
Jettie Jay Lucas, M.D.
Board-Certified Ophthalmologist · Director of Ophthalmology Service, San Borja, Lima, Peru, since 1990 · Volunteered time and skills to missions in Peru and Zambia · Monumental in arranging our mission to Peru.
Rose R. Penn, PhD
Director of Blindness Prevention and Functional Rehabilitation Program, Buenos Aires, Argentina · Director VEO-VEO for blindness prevention in schoolchildren, Buenos Aires. Married to Dr. Mugica · Volunteered time and organizational skills to missions in Argentina and Zambia.
Marilyn Anne John
An economist and banker, Tenerife, Spain · Married to Dr. Lucas · Volunteered time and skills to missions in Mexico, South America, and Zambia.
Joe Bentley, M.D.
Board-Certified Ophthalmologist, Fellow, AAO · In private practice since 1976, Palo Alto, California · Associate Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology, Stanford University Medical School · Consultant, Department of Surgery, Palo Alto Veterans Hospital · Volunteered time and skills to missions in South Africa and Zambia.
Daniel F. Bencomo, M.D.
Board-Certified Ophthalmologist, Fellow, AAO · Major, United States Air Force, Chief of Ophthalmology Department, Lakenheath, England (UK) · Volunteered time and skills to missions in Central, South America and Zambia.
Albert Rey Holcomb
JCAHPO Certified Ophthalmic Technician with a specialty in Ophthalmic Surgical Technology · Sergeant, United States Air Force, Lakenheath, England (UK) · Extremely important to us during our recent Zambian mission, assisting surgeons, conducting keratometer and A-Scan readings, and setting Phacoemulsification machines.