Seven city of Powell residents recently traveled to Central American with a vision — to help Salvadorans see better.
The trip involved members of the Olentangy Rotary Club who teamed up with Eye Care International to provide residents of Chalatenango, El Salvador, with free eyewear and eye exams.
With assistance from a group of 40 others with the same goal in mind, the Delaware County residents helped dispense prescription and reading glasses, while also performing eye surgeries.
According to a press release provided to The Gazette, while the temporary Chalatenango Eye Clinic was in operation, the volunteers saw approximately 500 people per day over a two-week period.
All exams, glasses, and surgeries are provided free of charge to local residents, the release states.
Rich Irelan, an Olentangy Rotary Club member and volunteer with Eye Care International, was one of the locals to make the journey to El Salvador, his third such trip.
“We show up at 7 a.m. and there are 200 people waiting in line already, most days in brutally hot temperatures,” he said. “There are many days that we work until 7 p.m., dispensing glasses and completing the eye surgeries.”
Irelan was joined on the trip by fellow Powell residents John Medeiros (his 11th trip), Jordyn Irelan (her third trip), Dr. Jason Miller and his sons, Jake and Josh; and Jen Hall, an optician in Dr. Miller’s office.
In addition to the eye care in El Salvador, Medeiros also travels the country scoping out new locations for his rotary club Rain Water Cistern projects.
The press release states the Olentangy Rotary Club and Medeiros are responsible for 50 different rain water cisterns throughout El Salvador, and Medeiros has also assisted locals in the formation and funding of a cooperative for people in the primarily indigenous community of Cacaopera, El Salvador, to make hammocks in their homes.
This small business is a very important trade, as many residents use these in place of a standard bed, the release states.