ON A MISSION: VIETNAM

Mercer - Alpha Zeta

15 February by Chris Murdock, '13

chris-murdock

This school year, I was blessed with the opportunity to go on a trip to Vietnam and fit 25 prosthetic patients personally and more than 480 prosthetic patients as a team. The feeling of helping a person walk for the first time is priceless, and it is a memory that will now stay with me for the rest of my life.

Mercer on a Mission: Vietnam is a bi-annual trip where select graduate and undergraduate students travel to Vietnam for a month to fit prosthetic patients in various regions of the country. A Vietnam-born and now Mercer University professor, Dr. Ha Vo, created the trip after seeing the impact that life without lower extremities had on his native country. Many of the patients I encountered have not walked in more than 10 to 15 years, some never experienced the luxury of walking at all. In addition to fitting prosthetics, over 2,289 medical patients were also treated by my team.

This trip to Vietnam has been life changing for me. Until this experience, I always took walking for granted, but when I encountered people that longed for that privilege for a lifetime, my thoughts changed. This tremendous opportunity pushes me towards my future career path in medicine of lower limb orthopedics. I now also look at everyday life with a new perspective — one that wants to impact and improve the lifestyle of as many people as possible.

The moments from Vietnam allow me to reflect on being a brother of Alpha Tau Omega too, and a line of our creed stands out: “to have no narrower limits within which to work together for the elevation of man than the outlines of the world.” Being an ATO has truly helped me to find my full potential as a leader. Through ATO, I’ve been able to seek out opportunities that were beyond my view before I was initiated. Mercer on a Mission was one of those opportunities, and I’m thankful to have taken part part in a tremendous program.

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