Pleasant Hill VFW Post #3118 held its annual dinner and awards ceremony on Friday, Jan. 29. Several members were recognized for their service to the post and community. The highlight of the evening for several young Americans were the awards of the Voice of Democracy and Patriot Pen essay contests. Earning scholarships are (left to right): Sydney Lamborn, 3rd place Patriot Pen; Taylor Markham, Voice of Democracy 1st; Catherine David, 2nd place Patriot Pen; and (unable to attend due to illness) Jaden Greenwood, 1st place Patriot Pen. (Times photo by Kerry Warman)
Dr. Laura Voss wants to help the children of war
By BETTY BEASON
Times Staff Writer ...Dr. Laura Voss, a family physician at Lee’s Summit Family & Sports Medicine, spent November 13 through 20, 2015, in Jordan on a Medical Mission. ...After seeing a picture of a toddler’s body which had washed up on shore in Turkey, she wanted to do something to help the refugees. ...Because of the Civil War in Syria, the refugees are fleeing attacks from their own country and Russia. Ten million Syrians are displaced and four million of those have fled their countries. The United Nations is supplying 700,000 doctors to serve the refugees in Jordan. The country is the size of Indiana. ...In her quest to discover how she could help, she joined Physicians Moms Group on Facebook. One of the members of the group, had issued a plea to anyone who was interested in making a one week commitment to go to Jordan to help the refugees. ...Dr. Voss learned that the medical volunteers were being organized by Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS Foundation,) a nonprofit humanitarian organization which was established in 2007. It is their mission to organize volunteer physicians who are able to deliver direct medical care in Syria, Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon. SAMS is funded by charitable gifts, which are tax-deductible. The organization is committed to use 100 percent of the donations for the mission work. ...Volunteers must have a passport and pay for their own flight and other expenses. They also agree to bring as many over-the- counter medical supplies as they can. They also ask their churches and communities to collect children’s clothing, tooth brushes, tooth paste and eye glasses, which can be used in the refugee camps. ...Dr. Voss was part of a team of 47 persons who spent a week in Jordan in November, 2015. ...Laura signed up and started collecting medical supplies to take with her, and she asked her church, New Springs Community Church in Lee’s Summit were helpful with collecting items she could take to Jordan. Her employer, Summit Family and Sports, was also helpful. ...Most of the medical team were from America, but there were some from other countries. Eighty percent of them were women. They represented a range of medical professions: from nurses, doctors, dental occupations and multiple medical specialties, as well as translators. ...They flew from Kansas City to Frankfurt, Germany and on to Jordan. They were provided transportation to the hotel where they would stay during their week’s tour of duty. ...Each morning, the group met in the conference room to receive their assignment for the day, pack up their medical supplies and were transported to their destination. Clinics had been set up in community centers and other available buildings which had the space and accommodations for the medical services they were providing. ...One of the clinics where Dr. Voss worked was in Za’atari, the second largest refugee camp in the world. ...Most of the patients were treated for basic aches and pains, common colds and rashes. Their needs were easily treated.”Our job was to serve the underserved Jordanians,” she said. ...Dr. Voss praised the assistance of the nurse who was assigned to help her. She had worked as a nurse in Syria. Her husband was an attorney. They had fled with their four daughters and had been there for eight months. She was able to work assisting the physicians and earned a little money to assist with their family’s expenses. ...SAMS’ efforts are ongoing. They support the physicians who are staying in Syria in addition to taking mission groups every other month. ...She said she never felt in danger. The only time she witnessed the presence of military was at the airport. In Jordan, the volunteers were always in a group and felt safe. Many of the volunteers had been there before and knew the best places to eat. ...Dr. Voss plans to go back in the fall. She has seen the need for medically trained people. Her heart aches for the many children who have been through so much. ...Her patients were amazing. They were “just regular people,” who were nice and welcoming and enjoyed interacting with the volunteers who were providing their medical needs. She never felt afraid or saw any prejudice about any religion. It just did not matter. ...The Syrians want the war to be over so they can return to their homes. ...Dr. Voss wants more people to be aware of the needs and learn how they can help these folks who have been displaced from their homeland. They struggle to “do the best they can with so little.” ...She recently did a presentation for the Pleasant Hill Lions Club and is interested in doing programs for any groups who want to know more about the refugee camps. They need so much and there are things ordinary citizens can do to help. ...Contact Dr. Voss by email, email@example.com to arrange for a program.