It took us almost 3 days to travel to Bangladesh, only to wake up early every day, to get to a hospital full of ill and injured people, where we spend the whole day attending to their needs. For most people this doesn’t sound like a vacation, and the truth is, it’s not—this is some of the most meaningful work of our lives. It takes a special kind of person to have the passion and dedication to go on a medical mission. Let’s meet them and find out why they do it:

Name: Tony Scheppmann
Role: Medical Records
# of Rotaplast Missions: 2
“I love to serve others. The countries Rotaplast goes to and people they help seem to have the most need and so the impact we can leave is the greatest in places like this.”

Name: Nan Madden
Role: Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
# of Rotaplast Missions: 25
“These missions give me the opportunity to know and work with people in other countries. It is a great learning experience. The whole trip is so enriching.”

Name: Milton Solis
Role: Surgeon
# of Rotaplast Missions: 34
“Originally I met Angelo Capozzi when I was the President of Plastic Surgery Society in Guatemala and he came to ask permission to do a mission in my country. I approved and was invited to come observe. When I watched what Rotaplast was doing, I felt guilty that another country was coming in to help my people. I felt that my duty is also to help so I joined Rotaplast Guatemala missions where I do at least one per year. Now that has expanded to help internationally as well. In usual life, you may hear the news and think everything is negative and people don’t care. On a mission, you are immersed in positivity and surrounded by people who care. You also meet good people in every country. You go home full of that positive energy.”

Name: Jan Epstein
Role: OR Nurse
# of Rotaplast Missions: 7
“I go on these missions because I can. I have a skill and it is nice to share that skill with a patient population that might not have otherwise received it. I also worry about America’s reputation abroad. This work, I hope, sends a message to the people we meet that America is a charitable nation, willing to share resources and expertise. I hope we can be representatives of that.”

Name: Adnan Uzunismail
Role: Surgeon
# of Rotaplast Missions: 2
“18 years ago there was an earthquake in my town in Turkey. Our hospitals and medical schools were demolished, 17,000 people died. Rotarians came and built us new hospitals and schools. I felt that I must repay this debt to Rotarians and so whenever I am invited on a mission, I will always be ready and accept with my full heart. Additionally, Rotaplast is much more sophisticated than other similar groups— they are the best example of teamwork.”

Name: Simon Rios
Role: Sterilizer
# of Rotaplast Missions: 2
“Why would someone travel half-way around the world, stay in an inhospitable environment, and expose yourself to illness for weeks? But for people who live here that is their 24/7/365 reality, so if I have to sacrifice to understand what they experience daily that is the least a person could do. Rotary is about “Service Above Self” and these medical missions are an opportunity to be a part of something way bigger than yourself.”

Name: Jodelle Myhre
Role: Head Nurse
# of Rotaplast Missions: 17
“These missions remind me of the reasons I became a Nurse— to help people who otherwise may never get help. These missions fill my emotional bank up to the top.”

Name: Michelle Benedict
Role: Photojournalist
# of Rotaplast Missions: 2
“I believe that when you travel and when you lose yourself in service to something greater than yourself, your true depth as a person is more fully revealed. These missions immerse you in another culture, teach you to work with and empathize quickly with strangers, and allow you to be present and helpful in some of the most vulnerable moments of other peoples’ existences. If there is more fulfilling work than that, I don’t know it.”

Name: Wally Chang
Role: Surgeon
# of Rotaplast Missions: 19

“The people we help can’t ordinarily afford these services so this is usually their only chance for surgery. The deformities they have affect a person’s life severely, some cannot even speak or be understood. It is very important to give back and the camaraderie I feel working alongside others with this common goal is very rewarding.”

Name: Angelo Capozzi
Role: Medical Director
# of Rotaplast Missions: 60
“My first mission was in Mexicali, Mexico and it was a seminal moment of my life. The psychic bank from helping people in this way is unequivocal and I decided I would incorporate medical missions into my career. I have ever since. Ultimately I wanted to have a contribution to humanity and I hope that I have.”