My father recently passed away at the age of 92 after living a long and blessed life! Thoughts of him cross my mind several times a day, and I find myself remembering or discovering new things about his life that bring a smile to my face and remind me why I do what I do each day.

Dad served our country through active duty military service and civil service for nearly 50 years and his work took us to many parts of the world. Throughout our travels, his love of people and compassion for those who were alone on their journey brought many strangers to our door. Those people quickly became a part of our extended family and brought much joy to our lives.

After retiring, Dad volunteered for an Arizona nonprofit organization, transporting seniors and persons with disabilities to and from medical appointments. It was no surprise that he made friends with some of his “repeat customers” and stayed in touch with them over the years.

Throughout his life, Dad shared his gifts of friendship, kindness and good humor with people wherever he went – a life well-lived!

What does all of this have to do with Mission of Mercy and the patients we serve?

In remembering how my dad lived his life, I’ve drawn parallels to the people in communities across the Valley whose lives have been positively impacted by Mission of Mercy. Our clinics have become the “medical home” for patients who have fallen through the cracks of our healthcare system. We welcome them into a safe harbor where they are treated with compassion and love by our amazing volunteers and given top-notch care for their acute or chronic conditions. Our patients are always grateful and sometimes our volunteers give – or get – a hug at the end of a visit. Sounds like family to me!

Our Mission of Mercy family includes caring clinic staff and volunteers, dedicated board members, community ambassadors, energetic young interns and, of course, patients! But our extended family also includes community partners, funders and individual donors – the people and organizations that make it possible for us to serve uninsured patients with dignity, love, compassion and good medicine.

We have much work to do in the coming year and look forward to sharing stories of hope and healing from our patients and volunteers. Thank you all for being part of our MOM family on this remarkable journey!