Serving the Dear Neighbor in Panama
For the past six years, Sister Gerrie Grandpre has maintained a “side ministry” of collecting surplus medical equipment for our “dear neighbors” in Panama.
While ministering as Director of Health Resources for the Congregation, Sister Gerrie met beekeeper Tom McCormack through Sister Lyn Szymkiewicz, who tends beehives on our grounds. Tom and his wife, Linda, run McCormack Apiaries in Raccoon Township.
Tom visited Panama in 1994 through a government program to help Panamanian bee keepers. He realized that many items discarded in the United States could be used in less fortunate areas of Panama, which inspired the creation of the Thomas L. & Linda J. McCormack Foundation.
Sister Gerrie accumulates spare equipment at the Motherhouse until she has enough to fill the McCormack’s red pick-up truck. She estimates the Congregation donates about three “truck loads” per year. Linda, pictured, visited the Motherhouse this month to pick up items for the next shipment.
The foundation has sent twelve cargo containers filled with wheelchairs, prosthetics, hearing aids, cranes, crutches, walkers and eye glasses to Panama, where Tom spends several months each year.