Refuge International

Improving lives through healthcare, nutrition, clean water, and education.

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Sue Gillette and other volunteersIn 2018, Refuge International was fortunate to meet Sue Gillette, RN from Denver, CO. She attended a medical mission trip to Sarstun and traveled with a medical bag of supplies from our office. She inquired how we get these supplies and how she could help out, and she became our traveling nurse, picking up donated supplies. Sue has helped Refuge not only by getting free medical supplies from facilities, but also by delivering them to our office in Longview, Texas. She has put many miles on her vehicle.

Jennifer McGuffeeJennifer McGuffee has been an employee of Refuge International for 9 years. She has been a part of each piece of Refuge that makes it whole, and one of those parts is sorting medical supplies and starting a volunteer sorting program. She wanted to share how important it is for Refuge International to have volunteer sorting teams:

Anita Lowe and nursing studentsAnita Lowe, MSN, RN is a clinical instructor at the University of Texas at Tyler School of Nursing—Longview University Center. 

I had the pleasure of speaking with Anita about why she continues to bring nursing students to help with sorting medical supplies at the Longview office, and volunteering in the bi-weekly clinic at Hiway 80 Rescue Mission. She replied:

Connelly CowanConnelly Cowan started gathering school supplies through donations from her church, family, and friends at the early age of 7. She is now 14 years old.

I asked Connelly what drives her to continue to support Refuge International. Connelly replied, “I see the good things that Refuge International does and what an impact it makes on people in Guatemala. I want to continue to help children have access to educational tools.” The school supplies that we receive today in Longview will help the multiple schools that we collaborate with in Guatemala.

Christina Kinder and Anna Katherine Cates with a box of suppliesChristina: During the spring break of 2015, I had the opportunity to travel with my parents through Refuge International to the clinic in Chocola, Guatemala. It was easily my most life-changing experience. I have been very interested in pursuing a career in medicine for as long as I can remember, and my parents believed that this would be a great chance to expose me to everything medicine had to offer.

“One time we had to go buy a hacksaw to do an amputation.”

Dr. Eveland with a little girlThis is the start of just one of innumerable stories Dr. Ken Eveland, one of our most committed volunteers, loves to share.

Stephen Mahoney with patient“As a college freshman, I was still pretty clueless about where life would lead me. The guiding force that influenced me towards a career in health care came through my medical mission trips with Refuge International. As an undergrad, I received invaluable experience by participating directly in patient care on my trips to Guatemala. I learned to take blood pressures, start IV’s, and eventually to scrub in and assist with surgery.