Posted on Apr 27, 2023
April 26 was a great day to be a Rotarian as RCAA presented the Robert S Northrup Humanitarian Award to Dr. Robert Nelson. Dr. Nelson was inspired to improve vision to people around the world, after visiting Haiti many years ago as an optometry student at Michigan College of Optometry.. He participated in an International trip with VOSH ( Voluntary Optometric Services to Humanity), a non-profit organization providing vision services to those who may not have the resources or access to vision care. Since that first visit, Dr. Nelson has made 50 trips with VOSH to Egypt, Kenya, Guatemala, Mexico, Dominica, Haiti, Peru, Latvia, St Lucia, Grenada, Panama, Jamaica, Wise, VA. and Detroit. After the Northrup Award presentation, Dr. Edwards shared his reflections about his work bringing better vision to many around the world. VOSH is an excellent resource to recruit optometrists for these vision clinics.
Dr. Nelson also recruits other professionals, Rotarians and volunteers to assist in the clinics. Many clinics see over 2000+ clients over 5 days. Services include eye exams, screening for eye conditions, and providing glasses to improve vision for all who attend. Dr. Nelson works with local Rotary Clubs in the country where the clinic is held. Local clubs arrange all the logistics for the clinic including location, advertising, necessary permits, and traffic flow through the clinic. Local clubs also provide follow-up to clients for glasses, medication, etc. Where possible, Dr. Edwards works with local Schools of Optometry, their faculty, and their students to increase the sustainability of the projects. Dr. Nelson also shared some photos and highlights of his clinic in Egypt, again working with local Rotary Clubs to bring these services to as many people as possible. Many of the Rotarian guests had participated in a vision clinic. Dr. Edwards has been a practicing optometrist for thirty years and is a Lieutenant Colonel, retired from the US Air Force. Dr. Edwards has been a Rotarian for 32 years. He is past president of the Fowlerville club, served as an Assistant Governor for District 6380 and he is currently a member of the Highway M 36 Rotary Club. Dr. Edwards truly demonstrates Service Above Self.