Bulletin from HSG newsletter, Toledo, June/July 1980

(This is an article that appeared in a Ham radio operator newsletter in June 1980 detailing Sister Ethel Solnick's efforts in Honduras and her success in engaging fellow Ham enthusiasts to help.)

"Sylvania Franciscan Sister Ethel, WB8GWE, continues struggle of Love in Honduras"

HondurasIn a letter to HSG, Sister Ethel sends greetings to the radio amateurs in Toledo. She enjoys reading this paper, especially the articles written by Alden Cooper, W8BHL. Sister congratulates Al on his retirement.

She has been in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Central America one year last March 25th. That year was spent setting up a microbiology department, which she insists continues to be a struggle of love.

But she's involved in other areas also. Inasmuch as WB8GWE's letter was read by every radio club in the Toledo area, let's read what some other radio amateurs are doing in response to Sr. Ethel's appeal for help for the deserving poor of her mission. This is from the MARCO Newsletter, Edward R. Briner, D.M.D., WA3TVG, editor:

"No doubt the biggest endeavor in philanthropy ever undertaken by MARCO (medical Amateur Radio Council, Ltd.) is unfolding at the present time, through the combined efforts of our organization, the Flying Dentists, and the Brothers Brother Foundation, a Pittsburg based organization that has been quietly helping poor Central American and Caribbean notions for many years."

"This story began in January when your Newsletter editor was with the Flying Dentists in San Pedro Sula for their annual week of missionary dentistry in that city. While there Sister Ethel took a number of our party on a tour of the hospital where she is laboring. Our party was shocked by the desperate need for equipment and supplies at the hospital.

"Dr. Ben Johnson, who is chairman of the Flying Dentists Missionary program, has been working in close affiliation with the Brothers Brother Foundation in planning his trips into areas of need, and he told the officials of the hospital there in San Pedro Sula of a Pittsburgh hospital, St. Margaret's, that was soon to move into a completely new facility, and would be having many supplies, used but still quite serviceable, available to be given to the needy."

"When Ben got back to Pittsburgh, he contacted St. Margaret's and found that the Brothers Brother foundation would be handling the disposition of the (Aptdo 1081, San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Central America) supplies. Through Ben's efforts, a representative of the Honduran Ministry of health flew to Pittsburgh to examine the supplies.

"It was determined that many thousands of dollars of the supplies were need in San Pedro Sula, but the Honduran government does not have funds allocated in their budget for shipping costs, and if time passed until approval was obtained, the supplies may be shipped to another hospital.

"The American Fruit Company, who operates regular runs between the States and Honduras, volunteered to ship the items from New Orleans to Honduras, so it became imperative help was needed to cover shipping costs from Pittsburgh to New Orleans.

"The Brother's Brother Foundation, needing help to finance the shipment, contacted Ben, who contact me (WA3TVG) and an attempt was made to call all Directors....

"The feeling was unanimous among the Directors contacted to underwrite a portion of the shipping costs, in an amount between three and four thousand dollars....

"Among the items we will be financing the shipping of is a 300ma E-Ray, which cost $70,000 new and has been valued at $20,000 presently, operating room equipment, and autoclaves, all totally valued at between $75,000 and $100,000."

All of which proves MARCO is not one of your ordinary, run-of-the-mill amateur radio organizations. MARCO is to be congratulated for their generosity and concern for humanity.

But wait! MARCO could not do the whole job by themselves. Sister Ethel still needs more help.

"We are trying to get crutches, wheelchairs, water purifiers, ice-cub makers, nursery incubators, etc.," she writes, "which are all available to us if somehow we can find a way to get it here. Ruth, HR2RP, is in communication regarding this traffic on 14.280 on the IMRA Net (International Mission Radio Assoc.) daily except Sundays and on 14.313 the Intercontinental Net. She is deeply interested in this sympathetic cause.

"Jim, I would like to seek donations from the Toledo Amateur Radio Operators.... We all love life and want to be healthy. The people in San Pedro Sula are equally deserving of good health."

Read more about Sister Ethel Solnick