The Wellington News
Sometimes it's not always a game of numbers and dollars that measure the reaches of compassion. The human spirit will always bring its best effort against whatever Mother Nature dishes out. It’s a point being proved by a medical staff that has volunteered its time and expertise to relief efforts in the earthquake ravaged Haiti.
Three doctors, two nurses and an emergency logistician from Medical Teams International flew out of Portland, Or. yesterday. On their way to Haiti, the plane touched down at Wellington Municipal Airport to refuel.
Wellington Area Chamber of Commerce Director Shelley Hansel-Williams was there to welcome the team to Wellington. The chamber provided a lunch for the travelers before they took back to the skies.
"We appreciate these moments even more because we know where we're going isn't going to be so easy," said Tammy Teske, manager of emergency relief for Medical Teams International. "So just to have this time of luxury and relaxing is such a blessing."
Making the trip along with Teske was Angele Theard, of the Oregon Anesthesiology Group, Steve Boyer of Oregon Emergency Physicians, and Bob Gibson a Portland physician. Nurses Carol Caudle from Willamette Falls Hospital in Oregon and Kris Repp, a self-employed emergency RN from Renton, Wa., were also making the trip.
"Right now we're a medical team," Repp said after getting off the plan in Wellington, "but we're available to serve in any way that the need that is the greatest."
The group was flying in a private jet supplied by TEC Equipment Inc., who owns VOLVO and MACK truck dealerships on the West Coast. Dave Thompson, TEC Equipment Inc.'s president, whom was also on board the plan, made the decision to donate the flight after his employees and VOLVO and MACK Trucks North America donated the funds to pay for the fuel. They flew to Port-au-Prince in Haiti after leaving Wellington. Team members will be in Haiti ranging from two to four weeks.
"We have two small teams that are on the ground that preceded us," Repp said. "So we're just going to join forces."
Repp said she has never been to Kansas before, but has flown over it "many, many times."
Wellington Municipal Airport recently finished a larger runway ramp that is able to handle plans the size of the one the medical team was on. Before, the older ramp was suited for a load of 8,000 to 10,000 pounds, the new ramp can take 70,000 pounds. Dave Thompson said Wellington was and ideal place to refuel because of the airport's competitive fuel prices.
"The airport survives out here through ground lease, hanger rent and fuel sales," said Airport Operator Patrick Hamiln.
Page 2 of 2 - The volunteers were delighted by the gratitude shown by the town and the airport and were interested in some of the facts and history about the community.
"I truly think it is amazing what the doctors are going to do however, it was also neat to meet the business owner who volunteered to fly the crew down to Haiti," Hansel said. "He reflected the spirit of the small business owner and how they are always willing to step in and lend a hand."
The team knows their job at hand is a mighty one, but a necessary one. With so much effort being put towards Haiti, Medical Teams International is glad to finally be going and that Wellington could be involved.
"It's such a blessing," Teske said. "Getting to haiti has been our biggest challenge, getting on the flights and getting people in as soon a possible."