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2017: Merck Report

Team Embarks to Honduras for Mission Trip
June 9, 2017


Last month, three colleagues traveled to Honduras for a veterinary and public health ministry mission trip. Randy Lynn, D.V.M., D.A.C.V.C.P., Companion Animal Technical Services Manager; Kristina Lombardo and Jennifer Baggett, both Companion Animal Territory Managers, were three of the group’s 45 volunteers. Their participation was made possible through the Merck Gives Back volunteer program.

During their time in Honduras, the group vaccinated, dewormed and treated more than 5200 animals using vaccines donated in part by Merck Animal Health. In addition to protecting villagers from diseases, by treating the animals, the volunteers also lessened the threat of rabies, which is frequently caused by dog bites.  “We treated dogs, cats, chickens, pigs, turtles, rabbits, horses – you name it,” Lombardo says. “The villagers were waiting for us each morning with their animals, which were not just pets, but their livelihood. The animals are used for transportation, work and food. Thus, the vaccinations we provided translated not only to better health for the animals, but also to hope for the villagers.”

Baggett, a first-time participant, was moved by the villagers’ gratitude.  “This experience really hit home with me,” she says. “It was a reminder that, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or language barriers, as human beings, we all share common threads of love, kindness and human dignity.”  Dr. Lynn, who has participated in the annual trip for more than two decades, says that this year’s group of volunteers made a lasting impact on him. 

“In past years, I’ve seen volunteers get frustrated with bugs in their rooms or the lack of air conditioning, but this group shared the same vision – we were simply people helping people,” Dr. Lynn says. “After three days in the field vaccinating animals, some of our volunteers asked if we could help a local man named Chepe, who was having issues with his roof leaking. We spent a day making repairs for Chepe, which was so vital, as three generations of his family live in his 500-square foot home. It is experiences like that one that pull me back to Honduras year after year.”

Lombardo says the experience was not only personally fulfilling, but now allows her to connect with customers on a new level.  “The trip allowed me to use my skills in a way that transcends what I do on a day-to-day basis at work,” she says. “Moreover, talking about this volunteer experience with my customers is powerful – I think it truly causes them to look at Merck Animal Health in a whole new light.”

If you are interested in participating in future mission trips to Honduras or want to learn more, contact Dr. Lynn for details at randy.lynn@merck.com. Veterinary experience is not required to participate.