Rotary members, church help supply 'have-nots' with medical necessities
Jack's Story – the very beginning
From a 1-4-2006 Tulsa World story by
Amber Wilson World Staff Writer
Standing behind a medical clinic, Jack Maxwell spied something he never expected to see. Something he would not have seen at any stateside hospital -- surgical gloves hanging along with all the other hospital laundry.
"We throw them away in this country," said Maxwell, still shaking his head in disbelief at the thought of that day more than a decade ago in the Philippines. "It graphically showed to me the difference between the haves and the have-nots."
That day in the early '90s put Medical Supplies Network Inc. into motion. With Maxwell as the founder, and his fellow Rotarians picking up the reins to help, MSNI shipped its first four sea containers of medical supplies overseas in 1996. This month (1/2006), 10 years after that first shipment, the organization will send its 104th container. UPDATE in January 2015 Over 200 have been shipped.
The container, which is filled with medical supplies and funds for a small village in Uganda, was started by St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church, 5635 E. 71st St., of which Maxwell is a member.
"As I think about what we have here, it's very clear it's a group project between the Rotary and the church," Maxwell said. "I'd tried for some time to get the church to partner with MSNI and Rotary."
This month's (Jan. 2006) shipment will go to support bush clinics in the Bushenyi area of Uganda, as well as the College of Tertiary Studies there. A sister Anglican parish runs the school. Bush clinics are field medical clinics set up between villages in Africa, often without electricity or running water.
The founding priest for St. Dunstan's, the Rev. Canon Dick Daniels, started the idea for Maxwell of sending supplies to Uganda. The priest from Uganda came to St. Dunstan's to visit, and spoke of the need of the people. Daniels had an interest in shipping him some much-needed books.
"That initial help from Dick Daniels sparked this idea in my head," he said. "I thought, 'Why don't we ship more than just these books to our sister parish over there.'"
During the months that followed, Maxwell was able to collect money from the church, the Diocese and Rotary International. He also received an abundance of medical supplies and equipment from medical facilities in Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas and Missouri. Along with the supplies, the effort will sponsor nine scholarships to the Tertiary school for AIDS orphans. Maxwell said $350 will provide everything a child needs at the school for one year for one child.
"These are kids that would have been street kids," he said. All told, the container has more than six tons of supplies and educational materials being shipped. The container will also be left there to be used as a locked storage facility.
Maxwell's drive to help the people of third-world countries hasn't waned in the past decade. He decided that day at that hospital in the Philippines that he needed to do something to help. He knew he could count on his fellow Rotarians to help him find a way.
That drive began MSNI, which has helped people in 32 countries. "I had no clue how I was going to do it," Maxwell said. "It was an amazing accomplishment."
MSNI Organization History
Tulsa, Oklahoma businessman, Jack Maxwell, discovered the needs of developing countries when he began recruiting physical therapists from around the world. In his travels, he discovered that the medical equipment being used in these developing countries was severely outdated. He also met doctors and nurses who were frustrated because they did not have the means at their disposal to provide the kind of care they knew the patients needed.
Due to advancing technology, most facilities in the United States are continually upgrading their equipment. Therefore, surplus medical equipment with still many years of operating life become available for developing countries rather than sitting idle in warehouses. What is second hand surplus in the United States is state-of-the-art equipment to the healing needs of the former Soviet Republic States, Central and MSNI SHIPMENT OF HIGH QUALITY HOSPITAL BEDSSouth America, Mexico, South Africa and countless other countries.
Committed to the ideals of service, Jack founded a project in 1993 within the “World Community Service” Committee of the Rotary Club of Tulsa. Soon Rotarians throughout District 6110 supported this project. This District has 5,000 Rotarians in 80 clubs from the four corners of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas. The Medical Supplies Network was incorporated and received its 501-c-3 non-profit status. Two warehouses were purchased, and a Board of Directors made up of 14 Rotarians from District 6110 now directs the operations of M.S.N.I.
WEB PHOTO SHOWING 3RD WORLD NEEDSRotarians throughout District 6110 utilize their network to locate medical equipment and disposable supplies. These donations are packaged, inventoried, weighed and shipped to developing countries free of charge.
With generous donations of materials, money, volunteer time and transportation, thousands of lives are being saved by the efforts of M.S.N.I. Seventy-three containers have been shipped to 37 different countries as of 2009.
In 2007 Rotary International Past President Frank Devlyn visited the MSNI warehouse where he met with District Governor Peggy George, MSNI director Larry Biron, Tulsa Rotary president Linda Bradshaw, and Jack Maxwell.
PHOTO FROM WEB SHOWING 3RD WORLD NEEDS
MEDICAL SUPPLIES NETWORK, INC. • 1123 S Erie • Tulsa, OK 74112-5307 • 918-639-1492