Four years ago, Greg Wright of Chittenango found out about a medical mission too late to acquire his passport and proper immunizations. Although he missed that opportunity, Wright said that he received a sign not too long after.
"I have been looking to do something like this for long time," Wright said. A few weeks after the other mission left, Wright said he received a letter in the mail about an upcoming mission. The letter didn't contain a return address.
"These are faith-based missions," he said. "This was the holy spirit's way of telling me."
Wright embarked on his first of three medical missions to Nicaragua in January of 2006. He was ready to do more after his first mission, but he would soon do even more. We were sitting in the airport in Managua waiting to head home, when my mission leader asked me when I was going to lead a mission also, Wright said.
Wright, an emergency room physician's assistant and a longtime member of the United Church of Canastota, works at Oneida Healthcare Center. His medical background has given him some inspiration to travel abroad and provide health services to those less fortunate to have regular doctor visits and medications.
"It was very nerve-racking to think about all the standpoints," he said. "Before I would just go along, take care of people and do what I do."
Now that he is leading the mission, he has called on some colleagues to go on the mission. Including him, there are nine people on medical team members: one cardiologist, two emergency room nurses, one pharmacist, one physician's assistant and three registered nurses.
Wright's mission to Nicaragua will leave Feb. 20, 2010 and return March 1.
As of now, there are 16 people committed, but Wright needs six more people to make the team complete. Wright is asking community members across Central New York to either join the mission or donate to the mission's fund.