Ray Smith, has been the organizer coordinating planning meetings for the Gift of Hearing team which departed Wednesday, November 7 for Guaymas.  Traveling with Ray, will be Drs. Erica Williams and Bob Jenson.  They are our Mesa West Rotary audiology professionals who will be doing true vocational service for the next few days.  Accompanying the team providing volunteer support are the following Mesa West Rotarians and family of Rotary members:  Allan and Polly Cady, Christy Citterman and Ray Schmal,  and Chuck Flint.  Additional volunteers infused with the spirit of volunteerism in the audiology profession will be doctoral candidates from Arizona State University and A.T.Still University
At our May 17 meeting, Bob Jensen reported that since 1992, over 5,000 patients have been seen, and more than 4,000 hearing aids dispensed.  In 2017, 333 patients were seen, 165 hearing aids fitted and 185 earmolds made.  Bob felt he would be able to reduce the cost of the mission this year.  He believes they can accomplish similar results with a smaller team and consequently much lower costs.
The team will test preschool-age children as well as adults.  Over the four days of the time away for the mission, two days will be spent traveling to and from Guaymas, and two days will be spent seeing patients.  They will see from 300-350 patients who will be given a medical examination and medicine if needed by the team doctors, a hearing test by the audiologists and if needed, will be fitted with custom-made earmolds and hearing aids.  Those patients who already have hearing aids will have the aids inspected, cleaned and fixed or adjusted as needed.  Batteries will be dispensed to those needing them.  Patients will be counseled on the use and care of the hearing aids.  All services will be provided at no charge.
Last year, then President-Elect Chris Krueger went on the mission.  She wrote an article for the messenger detailing her impressions.  The final two paragraphs of her article give an impression of the mission that are worth reading again:
"The most amazing thing was the people, both the ones that served and the ones that we served.  Some of them waited all day to see someone for their hearing issues.  Children waited in cramped areas for hours and were still so well behaved.  (sometimes better than the adults).  One child and his mother were there all day on Thursday and then had to come back on Friday morning to complete the process.  Many came from many miles away in order to seek treatment.  Due to the large demand, we can only give one hearing aid per person.  There was no complaining.
"The volunteer staff was absolutely amazing.  They worked tirelessly for two twelve hour days.  Some didn't even eat lunch and barely had time to take restroom breaks.  They gave not only the gift of hearing, but they gave of themselves.  They were compassionate and loving to a group of strangers simply because they knew they had the skills that these people needed.  It was a true example of service above self."
We look forward to the photos and stories from the 2018 team, and thank them for their gift of time and their passion for service.