| Jun 22, 2013
Day Nine — Castle Rock to Longview, WA
18 miles walked today
61 miles to go
We’re staying at the home of Phyllis and Travis Cavens for a few days while I complete my walk through Central Washington.
Travis and Phyllis are both pediatricians in Longview, WA. In 1979, while reading the newspaper and drinking coffee on a Saturday morning, they read a story that changed their lives.
Ron Post, the founder of Northwest Medical Teams, was organizing a team of medical volunteers to travel to Thailand to provide medical care to Cambodian refugees. He had called a press conference and appealed for volunteers. The newspaper ran a story on Ron’s appeal for help.
Travis and Phyllis looked at each other after reading the story. “We can do that,” they said and proceeded to contact Ron. Within a few days, Phyllis was on her way to Thailand on our first medical team.
That trip changed Phyllis’ life. It also changed the lives of many refugee children who would have died from cholera and other diseases without her help.
In the years that followed, Phyllis and Travis served on a number of our volunteer teams. They spoke regularly about our work wherever they could—in churches, schools, service clubs and fundraising dinners. Travis also served as the founding chair of our board of directors.
Active members of their local Lutheran church, Travis and Phyllis base their volunteer service on their faith and their desire to show the love of Jesus to those who are suffering.
I’m so grateful that Travis and Phyllis responded to that newspaper story more than 30 years ago. I’m so grateful that they opened their hearts and decided to put their faith into action.
And, I’m so grateful for the more than 8,000 volunteers that served on 1,950 teams during my service as president. Like Travis and Phyllis, each of these volunteers has a heart filled with compassion, a commitment to turn their faith into action, and a desire to make a difference for those who are suffering.
My life is so much richer for having known volunteers like Travis and Phyllis. The world is so much better as a result of their service.
And, that truly is something to celebrate.