Felix Daubige has seen, and experienced, the importance of having access to medical care. When a family member became ill back in his hometown of N'zerekore, Guinea, Felix watched as she — like so many others in West Africa — struggled to get the care she needed. So Felix, who now calls Red Wing, Minnesota, home, decided to do something about that by starting a foundation to send donated medical supplies and equipment to his homeland. "When I first started, it was my goal to send medical supplies and equipment back to the city where I am from," he says. "But the need is everywhere — the whole country."
And it's not just modern medical supplies and equipment the people of Felix's hometown need. He says they also need an improved ambulance service. When Felix learned that Gold Cross, Mayo Clinic's advanced life support ambulance service, donated retired ambulances to area volunteer first responder services, he decided to take a shot at taking his humanitarian work even higher.
Felix reached out to Matt Will, director of Support Services for Gold Cross's fleet of 70 ambulances. "I told him, 'I am going to keep bugging you,'" Felix says. "He told me we were on the list."
Will says Gold Cross has a long history of donating its ambulances after they reach a particular age or mileage. "We've been donating vehicles since 2000," he says. "At that time we had agencies that were looking for emergency first response vehicles. Gold Cross decided to make a commitment that any vehicle leaving our fleet, we were going to donate."
It wasn't long before Felix found his foundation on the receiving end of that goodwill. "I'll never forget the day Matt called me and told me he had an ambulance for me," Felix says. "I couldn't believe it. I cried."
We're told the ambulance will soon make the trip to Guinea's capital, Conakry, a city of more than 1.6 million people that has few ambulances, and none that compare to U.S. standards. And, Felix and his foundation have an even bigger goal in mind: to build an entirely new and modernized health care clinic. "It won't be anything like the Mayo Clinic, but we want to do anything we can to help," Felix says. "The foundation has a big dream. We want to help as much as we can."
And thanks to Gold Cross and its ambulance donation program, they're one step closer to making that dream a reality for the people of Guinea.
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