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St. Peter's Eye Mission

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Seeing the Light of the World | Gift of Sight Mission Team Update 2022

We’ve revived, refueled and recharged St. Peter's Gift of Sight Mission. After a 19-month hiatus during the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2022 team of six optometrists, two ophthalmologists, two opticians and 20 volunteers is undertaking an October-November mission trip this year, the ninth trip to the Dominican Republic.  Altogether, we have examined over 8,000 people, distributed 5,000 pairs of glasses and performed 300 cataract and pterygium operations in our ministry in San Pedro de Macoris.

 

In that time, the St. Peter’s mission has grown – from 9 to 35 team members and in services provided. We examined 500 people and distributed maybe 200 pairs of glasses that first year. On our 2020 trip, we examined 860 people, distributed 1,500 pairs of prescription, reading and sun glasses, and referred 130 people for cataract surgery and treatment for macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. Our surgical team removed 92 cataracts and treated another 10 cases of pterygium. In 2021, St. Peter’s led the Diocese-wide effort to make, collect and ship 15,000 masks to the Diocese.

 

It is truly a team effort – starting with God’s grace and including the support of St. Peter’s and the Georgia Eye Institute, the skill and energy of 52 past and current team members, the Iglesia Esteban in San Pedro de Macoris and the Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic. 

 

The 2022 exam team includes St. Peter's members and family: Susan Homar, David Howell, Dale Howell, Jim and Haydee Toedtman and Kristen Toedtman;  Savannah area members:  Katia Sorge, Vicki and Clair Britt, Diane Owens, Jillian Rameirez, Dr. Todd Schnobric, Dr. Melinda Dang, Dr. Tim Hendricks, and Drs. Sally and Kerry Freeman; and Ana Hall from Coral Gables, FL, and Dr. Steve Sitkoff and Bunny Sitkoff of Philadelphia, Shaun St. Louis and Marc Belanger of Canada, and Rialeigh Yoder of Virginia Beach..  


The surgical team includes: Georgia Eye Institute staff: Dr. Bill Degenhart and Dr. Judy Piros; Lucia McCarthy, Cathy Bevill, Jordan Burdette, Angie Connell, Stephanie Cowart, Jessica Mazzarello, Stephanie Patrick, Heather Smith, Melissa Thompson and Patty Watson.

 

And they have shirts -- both polo shirts and t-shirts. Susan Homar helped secure the turquoise-colored shifts that feature the embroidered symbol adapted from the "tree of sight" designed in 2019 -- a painted brown tree trunk and branches with "leaves" -- created by the thumbprints of each team member.

​ In addition to monies raised by St. Peter’s parishioners, an expanding network of donors contribute toward costs of flights, lodging, meals, in-country transportation and shipping, all part of the effort making it possible for the blind to see!  -- Jim Toedtman

 

Thanks from Reverend Milquella Mendoza, Vicar of St. Peter's sister church Iglesia San Esteban:

 

"WE RECOGNIZE AND APPRECIATE THE GREAT EFFORT AND GENEROSITY THAT YOU HAVE SHOWN US, GIVING HEALTH AND LOVE TO THE PATIENTS OF OUR CITY OF SAN PEDRO DE MACORIS." 

Join the Team

 

There are two easy ways to join the Gift of Sight Eye Mission. Collect your old glasses and drop them in the "New Use for Old Glasses" box outside the church office. They will be cleaned and labelled and join our bank of available glasses in San Pedro de Macoris. Or, and better still, plan ahead and volunteer to join our 2023 mission team. We always need help.  

Rev. Milquella Rosanna Mendoza, Vicar

History of the DR Mission

Each year since 2014, a team of missioners travels to San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic, carrying hundreds of pairs of prescription and reading glasses collected over many months. The team members (this year 28 in total) are from St. Peter's and St. Anne's Episcopal Church in Tifton, Georgia; some are medical personnel who perform crucial eye surgeries, most are laypeople. 

They all work with the Reverend Milquella Mendoza, Vicar of St. Peter's sister church Iglesia San Esteban, as well as with staff at the Clinica de Esperanza y Caridad. Glasses are distributed and cataract surgeries performed during the week the team is in the Dominican Republic.

In addition to monies raised by our parishioners, an expanding network of donors contribute toward costs of flights, lodging, meals, in-country transport and shipping, making it possible for the blind to see! 

"WE RECOGNIZE AND APPRECIATE THE GREAT EFFORT AND GENEROSITY THAT YOU HAVE SHOWN US, GIVING HEALTH AND LOVE TO THE PATIENTS OF OUR CITY OF SAN PEDRO DE MACORIS." 
 

Seeing the Light of the World | Gift of Sight Mission Team Update 2020

There were cheers, tears and much joy as St. Peter's Gift of Sight Mission completed its seventh trip to the Dominican Republic this year.  Altogether, we have examined over 6,000 people in our seven-year ministry in San Pedro de Macoris. In that time, the St. Peter’s mission has grown – from 9 to 35 team members and in services provided. 

 

We examined 500 people and distributed maybe 200 pairs of glasses that first year. This year, we examined 860 people, distributed 1,500 pairs of prescription, reading and sun glasses, and referred 130 people for cataract surgery and treatment for macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. Our surgical team removed 92 cataracts and treated another 10 cases of pterygium.

 

It is truly a team effort – starting with God’s grace and including the support of St. Peter’s and the Georgia Eye Institute, the skill and energy of 52 past and current team members, the Iglesia Episcopal de Republica Dominicana and the warm embrace of the people of San Pedro de Macoris. 


The exam team included St. Peter's members and family: Susan Homar, David Howell, Dale Howell, Peter Kastner, Rev. Hunt and Lisa Priest, Randy and Val Stolt, Jim and Haydee Toedtman and Kristen Toedtman;  Savannah members:  Rev. Guillermo Arboleda, Vicki Britt, Jurgen and Ximena Dinger, Dr. Hank and Suzanne Croci and Dr. Sally Freeman; Alabama members: Dr. John and Karen Bender from Enterprise and Dr. Alan Peaslee from Huntsville; and Ari Santos from Baltimore, MD, and Ana Hall from Coral Gables, FL, and Dr. Rhadaysis Tapia Rivera from Barcelona. 


The surgical team included: Georgia Eye Institute staff: Dr. Bill Degenhart and Dr. Judy Piros; Lucia McCarthy, Cathy Bevill, Jordan Burdette, Angie Connell, Stephanie Cowart, Jessica Mazzarello, Stephanie Patrick, Heather Smith, Melissa Thompson and Patty Watson.

 

And we have shirts -- both polo shirts and t-shirts. Susan Homar helped secure the turquoise-colored shifts that feature the embroidered symbol adapted from the "tree of sight" designed last year that was a painted brown tree trunk and branches with "leaves" -- created by the thumbprints of each team member.     -- Jim Toedtman