On Thursday, October 25th, Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) presented an Angel in Adoption award to doctors at the Slocum Center for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Eugene, Oregon. Congressman DeFazio chose to recognize Slocum for their generous donation to the hospital Holt is building in Ethiopia.
“So you’re the guy I need to talk to about a donation for Holt.”
As one of Holt’s directors of donor relations, Larry Carter loves hearing these words. And yes, he is the guy to talk to. About a year and a half ago, Larry received a phone call from a Holt adoptive father named Patric Campbell. Patric needed to talk to Larry about a donation.
This one was unusual.
In 2009, Patric and Holly Campbell traveled to Ethiopia to bring home their son, Miles. While there, they visited the maternal-child hospital that Holt is building in the rural, southern region of Shinshicho – an impoverished community very close to their son’s birthplace. Across the road from the hospital stood a health clinic providing limited outpatient services for Shinshicho and neighboring communities — the only health facility in a region of about 250,000 people. Anyone requiring more involved health care would have to travel 12 miles to the nearest hospital. But few people have the resources to go that far. This often creates a life-or-death situation for seriously ill patients, especially children and pregnant women.
By building a hospital, Holt is working to meet the urgent healthcare needs in this community.
Once home in Eugene, Patric couldn’t get Shinshicho off his mind. “When we got home with Miles, I couldn’t let it go,” he says. If he saw any opportunity to help, he would jump.
Not long afterword, an opportunity arose. As the property manager at the Slocum Center for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Eugene, Oregon, Patric was sitting in a construction meeting one day when the topic turned to some X-ray equipment that Slocum planned to upgrade. The equipment to be replaced was not only useable, but in solid condition.
“It’s great equipment,” says Patric. “It sees 40 patients a day. It has a lifespan of 10-15 years.”
Not too long after that meeting, Patric called Larry about donating the X-ray equipment to the hospital in Shinshicho. It’s now waiting to be shipped over to Ethiopia, where the hospital is nearing completion.
On Thursday, October 25th, in recognition of their donation to the soon-to-be Shinshicho Mother and Child Health Center in Ethiopia, Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) awarded the Slocum Center an Angel in Adoption award. Every year, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute encourages Members of Congress to honor an individual, couple or organization from their district with this award. Recipients are chosen for their extraordinary contribution on behalf of children in need of homes.
Congressman DeFazio presented the award to Dr. Thomas Wuest, the orthopedic center’s president, and three other doctors at Slocum, as well as Patric, his wife Holly and son, Miles. Miles, now a lanky almost-5-year-old, accepted the plaque.
“I just want to thank you for your tremendous efforts in terms of bringing the medical equipment to Ethiopia and what that’s going to mean for so many kids,” said Congressman DeFazio to the award recipients, including Slocum Medical Director Dr. Kenneth Butters, Dr. Matthew Shapiro, Dr. Michael Koester and Dr. Wuest.
Dr. Koester and his wife, Sarah, are also Holt adoptive parents. They have, through the years, continued to support children in need of homes through Holt sponsorship and other efforts. “I was very happy to be part of Slocum receiving the Angels in Adoption award and serve as contact between Slocum and Holt… I’m just happy it happened and that we can help Holt with its mission in Ethiopia,” says Dr. Koester. “This is especially meaningful as my wife, Sarah, and I have three children we adopted from Korea through Holt.” Their 13-year-old son, Nathanael, came home in 2000. Emma, 11 came home in 2002, and Grace, 10, in 2003.
Also a dedicated advocate for children, Congressman DeFazio shared a story during the ceremony about visiting an orphanage in Morocco where many of the children were afflicted with a curable form of blindness. Once home, he helped to recruit a number of ophthalmologists to travel to Morocco and treat the children in the orphanage.
“There’s wonderful things we can do,” he said, “and what you have provided will do wonderful things for so many kids and make them more than adoptable.”
Several Holt staff attended the event, including Susan Cox, Holt’s vice president of policy and external affairs, as well as Larry Carter – the Holt director of donor relations who first received Patric’s call, and later helped with the logistics of donating the equipment. Congressman DeFazio concluded his statement by recognizing Holt’s efforts in service of orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children.
“Holt,” he said, “is an unbelievable resource for the community and the nation.”
Patric later expressed his delight that Congressman DeFazio presented Slocum with the Angel in Adoption award. “I think it’s great for both Holt and Slocum,” he told a reporter for a local new station. “They’re two amazing organizations that really deserve this award. Their creativity and collaboration, being both from Eugene, helping people a world away, is the amazing aspect of it. I’m just a part of it.”
But, as everyone at Holt and Slocum knows, Patric played a major role in this endeavor – one the Slocum doctors were eager to recognize.
After the award presentation, Dr. Wuest turned to Congressman DeFazio. “We’d really like to thank you for taking the time to provide us with the award, but especially Patric and Miles and his family. He was creative enough to point us in the right direction to allow us to do something with the equipment that would have probably gone to a much less noble use,” he said. “The women’s clinic in which this is going to serve should provide a tremendous opportunity for healthcare there. The ability of Slocum Center to provide the radiographic equipment for that is an honor to us.”
“But Patric really was the front man,” Dr. Wuest thoughtfully concluded. “We’re just riding on his coattails.”
Robin Munro | Senior Writer
The hospital Holt is building in Shinshicho is now in the last two phases of construction. Click here to learn more about the project.