Quest Vision Care Specialty Lab, Inc. fills their largest charitable orders in their 14-year history. Last month, 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 businesswoman 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 of 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.” The group successfully distributed 2000 pairs of sunglasses, 1,700 pairs of reading glasses, and wrote for just under 600 prescriptions set to be filled by Quest lab.
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 work. I left feeling grateful and rejuvenated by the possibility to continue similar such work in other underserved places.”