Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Operation Smile

Dear Family & Friends,

The name of Mercy’s voyage this year is Pacific Partnership 08. One of our goals is to partner relationships with other nations, as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs), to better the lives of all of us who live in and around the Pacific region. One of the most rewarding of our many partnerships is perhaps the teaming-up of USNS Mercy and the wonderful folks of Operation Smile!

Operation Smile was founded in 1982 by Dr. William P. Magee and his wife Kathleen for the purpose of repairing children’s cleft lips and cleft palates. Volunteers from this suburb organization travel around the world helping children born with these terrible deformities. It really is a lot of fun having them aboard. And watching the outstanding work they do is amazing.

For the last several days our patient receiving area has been filled with the sounds of children. Their facial disfigurements notwithstanding, these are regular children doing regular children type things: Running, jumping, laughing, screaming, yelling, and playing! These kids absolutely touch your heart when you see them. Some of the crew gave out coloring books and crayons (And I haven’t a clew as to why these particular items just happened to be aboard my ship!). This was a big hit and we now have many of these wonderful “works-of-art” posted throughout the vessel.

Over the last four days, The Operation Smile team was able to perform surgery to 54 children. That is 54 lives that have changed for the better. These children now have the chance to have a normal childhood without the shame of this horrible disfigurement. This morning, we said our goodbyes the Op Smile team that joined us here in the Philippines. Other teams will be joining us at our future mission sights. For me, it is such a privilege to be able to play a small part in helping this organization change the lives of children around the world! What could be better then a partnership that makes beautiful children even more beautiful then they already are.

More to come…



John said...

First I want to thank you again Captain for the daily entries on your blog. I also want to thank Operation Smile for the work they do all over the world in helping children have a better life in their futures.

In reading the NavyNewsstand daily and on the net, your blog is getting world attention. It would be nice for these people who stop by and read the blog to share their thoughts about this mission. It would be nice to hear what they have to say. It is sad to me that there are a few who think this is all political game.

Please pass onto your crew that I am very proud of what they are doing in helping all the children and elderly have a better heatly life. Thank you


Navy Mom said...

Captain Bob,
I am so proud,that my daughter Daniela Dietsch,has the opportunity to serve in the Surgical Service/Central Sterile Receiving Unit on the Mercy,and is able to help you all to improve underprivileged people improving their lives through medical procedures. To me, it is something to remember a lifetime!
I appreciate your blog and wait for it to come out. Knowing that you gals/guys are very busy (oops, Navy Service Women and Men),it makes it more valuable.
To dedicate your life to the Navy is a big step,to go through takes dedication and discipline, hardship and a change of thinking as civilian,I do admire all of you for going though and staying with.
I wish you all the best on your tour,lots of happy patients and the personal satisfaction, that you did something good and very special,what only a few people can and will be able to do in their life time.
You are great and I brag about your,proud to be a Navy Mom.
Ya'll do what you do best,helping others and I keep you in my prayers.
Take good care of this vessel Captain, you have precious cargo on board :):):)
Thanks again for sharing experiences,I am waiting for your next blog,
Renate Dietsch :):):)

George said...

Captain Wiley,

Hope all is well! thanks for all you did for us on the ship in Cotabato. I'll see you again in Nha Trang!



Girish said...

Captain Bob,
I am so proud, that my brother Sanjay Hiremath (from Indian Army) has the opportunity to be a part of USNS Mercy experience.
I have been reading your blogs with great interest and i thank you for providing a wonderful insight into the day-to-day activities of your crew.
Take good care of yourself and your crew.
Girish Hiremath

sexy said...