Giving Back to Global Neighbors:
Quest Vision Care Specialty Lab Fills their Largest Charitable Order to Date
Largo, FL., September 13, 2018 – Quest Vision Care Specialty Lab, Inc. fills their largest charitable orders in their 14- year history. On August 26th , Louis Walach journeyed to the rural northern Peruvian town of Zorritos for the second time this year to deliver over 400 specialty lenses to the community’s underserved population. The successful delivery and subsequent dispensing by Quest marks the culmination of several months of continual philanthropic work by the lab resulting from prescriptions written on the first trip by Louis and father Michael Walach back in March.
During the initial mission trip, the dynamic father and son management team joined 25 other volunteers from throughout the optical field to support the American based 501 (c) 3 Sight is a Right. The group was diversely made up of 7 optometrists, 8 opticians, 2 RNs, and 10 support staff, all of whom graciously offered their respective optical expertise providing free vision exams, blood pressure and glucose screenings for approximately 2000 local residents. The team, directed by Sight is a Right founder and Executive Director, Steven Stern met in Lima and were flown to Tumbes (later back to Lima) on a Peruvian Naval plane, generously donated by the government of Peru. Their lodging at the regionally acclaimed Palo Santo Hotel was also provided free of charge by the hotel’s owner, a local business woman named Lutie Fox who is locally known for her ongoing support of her community.
After just a week on the ground, the results of the team’s work were nothing short of amazing. According to Michael Walach, “The days were long, and our group really came together to make sure every needy patient was seen. We couldn’t believe that people had come from far and wide to have their eyes checked. I was quickly reminded how fortunate we are in the United States to have easy access to quick and professional eye care practitioners. This is not the case in Peru and many other poor places in the world.” When it was all said and done, the group successfully distributed 2000 pairs of sunglasses, 1700 pairs of reading glasses, and wrote for just under 600 prescriptions set to be filled by Quest lab by late August.
As promised, Quest successfully filled the order filling several suitcases set to be escorted by Louis Walach on the 28th of August. On this second trip, Walach was joined by Brian Body (ABOM) of Ocuco and again, Steven Stern, both of whom assisted in the tedious transport, delivery, and dispensing of the glasses to the hundreds of needy recipients. Upon arrival, the trio was quickly greeted by many of small town elders, elected representatives, and curious kids who had been eagerly awaiting their arrival. The group was escorted to the headquarter of the local civil construction union where the huge lot of Quest crafted lenses were unloaded and the daunting task of systemically organizing them for distribution began. After the better part of a day, with the help of several other volunteers, the group was ready to dispense. They worked relentlessly day after day until every recipient had received their respective prescriptions.
Currently an opticianry student, Walach commented that he felt blessed to have the opportunity to finish what he had started back in March. He said that “this experience was different from our first trip. There were much less of us which meant that each of us interacted with many more people than previously and the quality of those interactions seemed more profound. The first trip felt much more structured and, in some ways, incomplete because the people had to patiently wait months for their lenses to be ready. It was incredible to see the faces of the Peruvians when they put on their glasses, it was for many literally the first time they had seen clearly in decades. Many of the older patients wept with joy being overwhelmed by the emotion now having their sight returned to them.” Brian Body, a seasoned industry veteran, shared that this experience had been “life changing.” It opened his eyes and heart to so many incredible moments that would not have been possible to have had he limited himself to volunteer only in the US. He said that “this was easily one of the most personally enriching trips I have ever taken. I am honored to have been a part of this important wok. I left feeling grateful and rejuvenated by the possibility to continue similar such work in other underserved places.”