Sunday, May 18, 2008

Profiles in Courage

I think it’s time for me to tell everyone about my new show. It’s called “Profiles in Courage.” It’s dedicated to telling untold stories, raising awareness about often painful issues that are habitually ignored, and profiling the heroes dedicated to helping those less fortunate.

My first series of webisodes takes place in Guatemala where I joined a mission set up by an organization called Physicians for Peace. PFP is an international humanitarian non-profit medical education organization based in Norfolk, Virginia.

PFP is headed up by Retired Brigadier General Ron Sconyers, who now serves as its CEO. Sconyers turned down an almost requisite opportunity for a lucrative consulting job in Washington to head up this non-profit dedicated to training medical professionals in third world countries.

I saw Sconyers for the first time at a reception at a private home in Palm Beach, Florida. I was there ... just by chance … joining a friend … bored to tears … when suddenly Sconyers stood up and launched into a passionate pitch for Physicians for Peace. I had never heard of it. I listened closely. He closed with the following statement: “If you give a man a fish … he will eat for a day … if you teach a man to fish … he can feed himself for a lifetime.” I was intrigued. Within a week, I had aired a KBTV episode about PFP and this non-profit organization’s efforts to further the cause of international goodwill by sending in teams of medical volunteers who specialize in areas of care that a specific country needs most.

These teams will stay from one to six weeks. During that time they train local medical professionals and begin a variety of medical programs, which the host country sustains and replicates. They also offer their expertise by treating the people. They reshape eye sockets, correct urinary and genital defects, fit prosthetic limbs, and repair burn scars and clef palates. They’ve even done open-heart surgery and performed a range of cancer therapies.

After my story aired, Sconyers invited me to join the PFP team on a mission to several clinics and a major hospital in Guatemala to help patients with pediatric burns and constructing and fitting prosthetic limbs for children.

So last week I joined a whole host of volunteers from all over the United States and headed over to Guatemala. My series is set to begin airing on June 1.

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