Rotaplast & Rotadent
Rotaplast was founded 14 years ago when a District Governor from Chile and two members of the San Francisco Rotary Club met at the International Rotary meeting in Portland , Oregon, to discuss the many children in Chile and elsewhere born with birth defects such as cleft lip and palate in Chile and other deformities from burns or other health problems and who come from the poverty segment of many countries and were going untreated. Rotaplast is a project of Rotarians wherein there is a joining of medical and non-medical volunteers to provide resources and volunteer services to deliver reconstructive plastic surgery outside the U.S. Over 7,000 patients have been treated since the onset of this program. Starting with one team to Chile in 1992, Rotaplast now sponsors fifteen trips a year in the Rotary year 2005-2006 to include South America, Mexico, Vietnam, China, India and the Phillipines.
Rotary District 5100,with Support from many District Governors has provided funds and volunteers from many clubs in the District for many years to Rotaplast to help achieve the goals of relieving the problems with untreated patients in South America. East Portland Rotary Club started by assisting with this project with thirteen members who gave service to Antofagasta , Chile under the direction of Robert Demuth, M.D., a retired plastic surgeon from OHSU and World Community Service co-chair. East Portland rotary Club has assisted with providing funding for three South American trips. Dana Clark and Terry Beard have made more than one trip to Chile. Dr Demuth has made 12 trips with Rotaplast in the past ten years.
Services rendered by East Portland Rotary members in these trips has helped deliver 450 operative surgeries to over 300 patients and is an excellent example of a "Hands On" experience for non medical Rotary Volunteers.
This has been an outstanding demonstration of the "Service above Self" concept of Rotary.
Rotaplast Team From District 5100 to Antofagasta, Chile
Dr. Robert McIlveen, co-chair of the World Community Service Committee, has also worked as a dental volunteer providing services for the needy in Central America on two occasions and is making plans to work with Rotadent, a similar joint project with dental professionals and Rotarians again in Central America in the year 2003-2004.
Funds provided by the East Portland Rotary Club Foundation are raised by the many Club fundraising activities, primarily by the Club's annual auction in November each year.
Rotadent in Guatemala, January, 2005
The EPR World Community Service Rotadent Project was a great success! After
more than 10 months of committee meetings planning the various aspects of
the project more than 16 Rotarians from EPR,Newberg, and the Downtown club
flew to Antigua,Guatemala for the third time. There three dentists treated the entire village of El Hato which is composed of indigeous Mayan Indians. We treated all the women and children that came to our mobile clinic. A few men who were not in the fields came as well. The project also included testing local well water for poisons and putting electricity in homes.
The dentists on the team are Dr. Greg Peacock from Michigan, Dr. Allen Methven from Newberg Rotary and myself. Others on the team include the team leaders LeRoy Benham and his wife Paula, Auggie Gonzales and his wife Maureen, and Mike Caruso and his wife, Amy, and his daughter Verity. Andrea Olson was the journalist and assistant. Deniel Banks and Marnie Haley were District 5100 participants and Deniel also volunteered as a dental assistant as did Paula and Maureen. Dr Greg Peacock’s wife Susan cheerfully assisted her husband Greg.
We had a terrific electrical team that installed electricity into the school in which we were working. They did an amazing job with very little equipment. All of them pounded holes into concrete block walls all day by hand with hammer and chisels. Additionally they installed wires into two Mayan homes to serve as models for other Mayans to copy. This team included Ralph Kkoozer, Ray Simonsen, Walter Want, and Orvin Erickson.
Dr. John Webber and his wife performed studies on the general health and welfare of the locals for future projects. The famous Dr. Tom Hoggard was diverted to Sri Lanka just two days after the tragic tsunami and was unable to join us. His work was monumental and helped many suffering from this horrendous devastation.
A very important team was the water team that tested all the water in the wells and springs on the mountain where our little pueblo of El Hato is located. This team included Kathi Futornick, Mike Caruso, Amy Caruso,
And Marni Haley.
The Rotadent team led by LeRoy Benham carried over 600 hundred pounds of supplies and equipment to the Transciones Project which also includes and wheelchair and rehabilitation program for young people. LeRoy works closely with the Austin Dental Equipment Company to provide much needed dental equipment of the highest quality.LeRoy spent untold hours planning along with Auggie Gonzales to make sure the seemingly endless details where taken care of so the entire mission would be a success.
No human experience can match the camaraderie one experiences in participating with such fabulous people. The entire group was of one mind and one purpose. Joy was the air we breathed and the gratitude of the wonderful Mayans was our reward and it was much appreciated.
In service above self,
Photos of this project: