Wed | Apr 24, 2019

Building Bridges: Rotary helps sick to get Emergency Transporter

Published:Thursday | February 23, 2017 | 12:00 AMCarl Gilchrist
David Rich (left) talks with 19-year-old Marlando Brown, after the teenager was presented with a personal emergency transporter.


The Rotary Club of Ocho Rios, through its link with Rotary International, has teamed with Missouri, United States-based medical mission, Building Bridges, to serve Jamaicans in need of medical assistance, for the last 18 years.

The latest mission, a week-long trip to St Ann and St Mary, also got the support of the First Baptist Church of Lexington, Missouri, which donated three personal emergency transporters (PET) to physically challenged persons.

Church representative David Rich, who for the last six years has been coming to Jamaica as part of the medical mission, led by Bob McGee, and who is also a Rotarian, handed over the two PETs last weekend to two needy recipients, in a ceremony at Madge Saunders Conference Centre in Tower Isle, St Mary.

Eight year-old D'Angelo Gardner of Trinity, Port Maria, and 19-year-old Marlando Brown of Port Maria were the recipients, who were extremely grateful.

"D'Angelo has a muscle weakness from the spine go down and is unable to walk, so I'm very happy for this," explained the child's mother, Marva Batten.

D'Angelo, who is bothered by pain, started school late because of his condition and is now in grade one. He, too, expressed delight at being given the transporter.

Meanwhile, Brown, who is suffering from spina bifida, renal failure, high blood pressure and was recently diagnosed with bone disease, has never walked, says his mother, Megan Thomas.




She was delighted at being able to get a PET for her son after seeing one being used in Ocho Rios some time ago.

"I'm very, very happy," Thomas told Rural Xpress. "I've been praying for so long," she added. "The last time I went to Ocho Rios and saw somebody with one and I said to my friend, I wouldn't mind getting one of this for my son, and now God work it out."

The teenager also expressed gratitude for the vehicle.

"The First Baptist Church of Lexington, Missouri, purchased these. They also paid for the shipping so they could be delivered here, and then we assembled them here," Rich explained.

After delivering two of the PETs last year to persons in St Ann and St Mary, he returned with three this year. The third recipient was scheduled to collect his at a later date. Rich said more will be coming next year.

"It's part of the mission team to be able to do this," Rich told Rural Xpress.

He said upon previous visits to Jamaica he took pictures of persons who were in need of the PETs and brought them back to his church.

Meanwhile, Pixley Irons of the Ocho Rios Rotary Club hailed this year's mission as yet another success.