Around our office at 24×7, there has been a fair amount of participation in various types of charities in the last few weeks. Covering a variety of causes, employees have sent notices of their fund-raising efforts on behalf of the American Heart Association, cancer, diabetes, and AIDS. In this spirit of giving, I heard a wonderful story that Greg Alkire, VP of sales and marketing, Pronk Technologies Inc, shared with me.

Pronk recently ran a contest asking customers to send in photos and a story about how the company’s simulators helped them to do their jobs. The company chose three winners, and Samuel Gene Mitchell, DSM, BBA, CBET, biomed coordinator, Summit Medical Center, Van Buren, Ark, won the first prize—a Pronk certificate worth $1,495.

After receiving his award, Samuel, who has worked in the electronic service field for 39 years and has been a biomed for 11 years, contacted Pronk asking for approval to put his certificate up for sale to help a family in need. Through the HMA (operators of 59 hospitals in 15 states) biomed e-mail, he wanted to auction it to raise money for Summit employee Andy Messenger and his wife, Chairee, for their daughter, Anelise, diagnosed with a rare congenital disease called DiGeorge syndrome.

“Samuel has reminded us again why we love working with biomedical engineers—they are the most generous, unselfish, thoughtful, and caring group of professionals you can find anywhere,” Greg said. “Rather than using the prize he had earned from Pronk for his own benefit, he decided to auction it off and donate the proceeds to someone who needed it more. It is people like Samuel that make us all feel we are not just doing a job, but rather working together to make a difference for others.”

Another way biomeds give back is through medical missions. In the August 26 edition of the Weekly Jolt, we covered a project that Dennis McCutcheon, director, MedEquip Missions, Asheville, NC, told me about. On behalf of MedEquip Missions (, he and biomeds Monte Oitker and Casey McCutcheon fixed medical equipment and turned an empty room into a biomed shop in Guatemala.

Casey described her first mission project as a “life-altering journey,” and said wherever they worked they received food, smiles, hugs, and a lot of appreciation for the work they performed. “The hardest part of the trip was leaving incomplete pieces of equipment knowing it probably would not be touched for another year,” she said. “Supplies were few in many situations, but faith was high that we would accomplish whatever we could and leave the rest in the capable hands of God. I encourage all to find a local mission team and experience the unexplainable feeling of helping a poverty-stricken community.”

I commend Samuel, Dennis, Monte, and Casey for their actions. Sometimes it may seem our struggles are great, but these kind gestures remind us that there is always a way to make a difference.

Julie Kirst