Mercy Ships in National Volunteer Week

Press Release
Monday, April 22, 2013
Dr. Gary Parker (right) & Daughter, Susan: Photo credit Mercy Ships

Mercy Ships pauses during National Volunteer Week (April 21-27, 2013) to salute its volunteer crew on behalf of the more than 2.42 million direct beneficiaries.

These beneficiearies have received curative surgical interventions, health care training, dental procedures and community development projects in more than 70 countries.

As Scott Pelley of CBS 60 Minutes recently said, “Spend a few days as we did aboard the Africa Mercy, and you will see how two worlds meet at the intersection of courage and compassion.” The Mercy Ships team of dedicated and compassionate volunteers permits the pursuit of its mission to bring hope and healing to the poor, mobilizing people and resources worldwide. Mr. Pelley experienced seeing that love in action firsthand.

Due to the complex nature of Mercy Ships projects and programs, volunteer professionals are required to fill a wide range of skills. Dr. Gary Parker serves as an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon and is the Chief Medical Officer onboard the Africa Mercy. Dr. Parker started volunteering with Mercy Ships in 1986. After meeting his future wife on the ship, he married and has since raised two children while living and serving onboard with his family for more than 26 years.

Volunteers from around the world, like Engineer Tom KenKnight from the USA and OR Sterilizer Juan de Jesus from the Dominican Republic, make the Mercy Ships mission a success. Some crew live onboard for several years while others volunteer for several weeks or months. Volunteers fill roles such as cooks, schoolteachers, ward and OR nurses, pharmacist assistants, housekeepers, registered clinical dieticians, agriculture and nutrition facilitators, business analysts, anesthesiologists, hospital supply coordinators, plumbers, carpenters, IT managers, bio-medical technicians and orthopedic surgeons, to name a few of more than 100 different volunteer positions filled by 1600 volunteers annually from more than 35 nations.

Mercy Ships succeeds in large part due to its world-changing and selfless volunteers. For information about volunteering or helping to support a crew member, click here.


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