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Cooks return from mercy mission

Utah volunteer Julee Cook is pictured with the Mrs. Martinez and her children after they received their new eyewear. The Cooks were part of a Lion's club trip to Mexico recently where 16,000 pairs of eyeglasses were dispensed.

Price optometrist Barry P. Cook, and wife, Julee, returned recently from Mexico where they attended a Volunteer Optometric Service to Humanity (VOSH) trip. According to Cardell Sackett, president of the Price Lions Club, this was the 11th trip they completed where they helped provide free vision care services and materials to the poverty stricken people of Mexico.

This year's trip was to Reynosa, Mexico. The 53- member volunteer group consisted of seven optometric physicians, six opticians, several spouses of doctors, office staff members, ophthalmology students, interpreters and others who wanted to serve the underprivileged.

The members took down over 16,000 pairs of eyeglasses for dispensing, ophthalmic medications as well as diagnostic and surgical instruments of the trade. The group were able to see about 3000 patients and bring to them the gift of eyesight that otherwise would not be available in these patients lives.

The Reynosa Lions Club members hosted the event in the Lions Clubhouse complex where they also prepared and served meals for the Utah volunteers. The Reynosa Lions also provided transportation to and from the McAllen, Tex. airport and provided lodging for the group. The Club members had previously distributed vouchers to the poor for their specific day to come to the clinic.

Eyewear that was not immediately used was left with the club and will be used throughout the year for others needing care. Some financial assistance was given by the Utah Lions Foundation Board to help encourage participation by more doctors.

The VOSH group goes on a regular basis to third world countries and have committed to return to Reynosa in four years. Every person in the group must have prepared at least 300 pair of eyewear that are cleaned, repaired, bagged, labeled and organized ready for use. Several Boy Scouts completed Eagle projects helping with collection of the new and used eyewear. Many thousands of volunteer hours were donated in preparation for this humanitarian effort. The Boy Scouts needed to show leadership skills by getting parents, scout leaders, grandparents, and other troop members to Cook's office to assist in the preparation process.

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