Outreach: st. Peter's eye team
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
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!