When Disaster Strikes
As Senior Development Officer for Northwest Medical Teams, Alum Helps Deliver Care
to Those Who
Need It Most
WHEN EVENING NEWS ANCHORS report world disasters such as flooding
in Mozambique, earthquakes in Turkey or civil unrest in Albania,
there’s a good chance that Northwest Medical
Teams volunteers are already on site, thanks in part to the work of Dick Frederick ’63.
concrete floors in Mexico to treating burn victims in Moldova, volunteer teams
dispatched by Dick Frederick ’63 serve some of the most impoverished regions of the world.
The organization, which sends medical supplies and response teams
comprised of nurses, physicians and other aid workers to countries
worldwide, recently caught the eye of Forbes magazine. In the December
8, 2003, issue, Forbes identified Northwest Medical Teams as one
of the nation’s top 10 charities for investors.
credibility instantly climbs when an organization like Forbes recognizes
you,” says Frederick, Northwest Medical Teams’ senior
development officer. “This will definitely help us in our
mission to demonstrate the love of Christ to people who are impacted
by disaster and poverty.
”But when the emergency response
was established in Portland, Oregon, in 1979 by founder Ron Post,
there wasn’t any fanfare — just a vision to reach the
world’s most needy. Frederick loves to tell the story. “Ron
saw an image on television of a young Cambodian girl’s body
in a rice paddy being picked up by an aid worker,” he says. “He
looked over at his own healthy daughter and vowed to do something
to help the world’s suffering.”
That is a vision Frederick
says he can’t get out of his head. “One man — rather
the channel, or grabbing a snack from the fridge — decided
to make a difference,” says the former Seattle Pacific University
alumni director, who left his post at his alma mater in 1996 to
head the Northwest Medical Teams’ first Puget-Sound-area
Frederick says that leaving Seattle Pacific wasn’t
an easy choice, but the call on his heart was real and pressing.
Even more, it was Frederick’s
personal way, he explains, of engaging the culture and changing
Since its beginning, the organization has deployed more
than 1,100 volunteer teams, and through a unique partnership with
the Boeing Company, it has helped ship some $525 million in medical
supplies around the world. But not all teams are made up of doctors
and nurses — many are staffed by people of different occupations.
One such group recently journeyed to Oaxaca, Mexico, to lay concrete
floors in homes where children previously
played on dirt.
Frederick notes that Northwest Medical Teams reaches
people close to home, too. “Thanks to donated dental supplies
dentists and dental hygienists, the Mobile Dental Clinic program
has served more than 12,000 patients in the Northwest who were
without dental care,” he says.
What is the message Frederick
wants to send to the SPU community? Simply stated: There is no
limit to what one person can accomplish. “I will never stop
being impressed by the impact people can have by giving of their
time,” he says.
— BY SARAH JIO
— PHOTO BY JOHN KEATLEY
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