Community donates to Operation Hope

<I>Contributed</I><BR>The four nurses from Grant County, who volunteer for the Operation Hope Medical Team every year and travel to Ecuador, are, left to right: Bonnie Hilliard, Barbara Northington, Sandy Bowen and Nancy Crisler.

Wow! What this team of surgeons and nurses do and the effort these special people put forth is unbelievable. They work with Operacion Esperanza, a nonprofit, all volunteer Medical Mission Team, specializing in cleft lips, cleft palates and facial deformatory surgeries for children in need.

The four nurses who are team members from Grant County are Bonnie Hilliard, Barbara Northington, Sandy Bowen and Nancy Crisler. Bonnie has been involved the longest in Operacion Esperanza, devoting 12 years; Barbara has put in five years; Sandy three years; and Nancy has three years. The funding for the airfare, food, lodging, medicines, surgery tools and whatever else they may need is all purchased by the team members or in the case of the surgery tools and medicines, donated by other hospitals or purchased with donated funds.

The four team members from Grant County, along with the other 15 or 20 volunteers from the Northwest, were invited to Washington D.C. to an appreciation affair by the Ecuadorian Embassy, which takes place in May.

Since it will cost money to go to Washington D.C. to accept their thanks, a fellow hospital staff member started a fund-raising effort to cover the cost of their trip. Piper Stout began with Dr. Bob Holland and told him if he were to donate $500 then she would go around and ask other people to match that amount.

Dr. Holland and Dr. Nichols went together and donated $500. Then Piper pursued other people she thought might donate and came up with $2,778 in about one week.

On March 16, Piper was able to present the check to the nurses during a surprise luncheon given at the Blue Mountain Hospital.

- Brenda Bagett, the Eagle

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