Dr. Montero departs for Norfolk’s Sister City in the Philippines
Combines medical mission with representing the MacArthur Foundation at 75th Anniversary event.
For Dr. Juan Montero, II, a history of extraordinary medical outreach and a shared history between his country of birth and his adopted home – the Philippines and the U.S. – all come together this coming week.
In the city of Cagayan de Oro in the Philippines, March 13-17 will be General Douglas MacArthur Week commemorating the 75th anniversary of General MacArthur’s successful breakout from Corregidor to Australia during WWII.
The city was where General MacArthur and his family arrived in PT boats, before being whisked to Manolo Fortich and boarding B-17 bombers en route to Australia.
“I learned that there were no representatives from the MacArthur Memorial, the Foundation or the Museum, so I thought, I have to do something about this,” said Dr. Montero. “So I volunteered at my own expense, I said let’s do it.”
Dr. Montero, who sits on the Board of the General Douglas MacArthur Foundation, helped broker the sister-city relationship between Norfolk and Cagayan de Oro in 2008. He will present a statement from the Foundation and provide remarks about General MacArthur and the heroes from both countries who fought together during WWII.
In addition, Dr. Montero decided to quickly arrange a medical mission component to add to the celebration. Montero Medical Missions, which Dr. Montero founded in 2011, will bring screening equipment and provide examinations and prescription glasses for 300 people – many of them WWII veterans – who could otherwise not afford them.
“The impact for these people, being able to see well again, is tremendous. In many cases it allows them to work again, to be productive,” said Dr. Montero.
Montero Medical Missions takes a unique approach to medical outreach across the globe. The organization recruits expatriate physicians and allied healthcare professionals who live in the U.S. to lead medical missions back to their homelands with an emphasis on creating sustainable projects.
Eyesight 20/20 EyeCare – the kind being organized for this trip – is MMM’s flagship program, but they also do prosthesis and dental care, and will soon be adding diabetes and burn care. The charity also provides free health care to veterans in the U.S. through a semi-annual health fair.
Dr. Montero says this trip is special because of many extraordinary connections. For example, he is looking forward to reuniting with Mrs. Ginger Hansen-Holmes from Falls Church, Virginia, who will also be attending. In 1942, at age seven, she was living in the Philippines in the evacuation area because her father was in the U.S. army serving there.
“I was born in the Philippines in 1942,” said Dr. Montero, “and so when I was growing up I heard all these stories about the Hansen family. Captain Hansen brought medicine for injured guerilla fighters resisting the Japanese, which included my uncle. Who would have thought that 75 years later we would be reunited like this? Incredible!”
As Dr. Montero describes it, this medical mission will do a lot of good and create everlasting friendships here. “This is really what it’s all about, it’s what we do.”