UH Med Now
A ‘life-saving’ experience leads to opportunities to give
Date: April 12th, 2022 in Donors, Hawaii HOME Project, JABSOM News
The virtues of charity and fraternity are not only part of the Honolulu Elks Lodge’s mission. It is the reason that the fraternal organization recently bestowed JABSOM’s Hawaiʻi Houseless Outreach and Medical Education (H.O.M.E.) Project a special gift to continue in their pursuit of access to quality healthcare to the local houseless community. The Honolulu Elks Lodge 616 Exalted Ruler, Shannon Ball and Rio Martell recently presented a $10,000 gift to the Hawaiʻi H.O.M.E. Project.
The gift was something meaningful for Martell, who has been serving as the chairman for the lodge’s Investigation Committee and Lodge Activities. A few years ago, she received a call from a friend who had informed Martell that her foster daughter was found on the street and treated by a team of doctors before being taken to the emergency room at The Queen’s Medical Center. Martell didn’t learn the names of the doctors who treated her foster daughter, but she learned of the organization they were a part of – the Hawaiʻi H.O.M.E. Project.
“That, to me, was a life-saving type of thing,” Martell recalled about her first introduction to the mobile healthcare clinic. “I was told who did it. That’s when I tracked them down, these doctors. And that’s when I found Dr. Omori, director of the Hawaiʻi H.O.M.E. Project.”
At that time, Martell was in charge of the Elks Lodge’s school supply drive for homeless keiki. Remembering the impact that Hawaiʻi H.O.M.E. Project had on her life, as well as the work they do for the houseless community, she reached out to Dr. Omori to partner up with the H.O.M.E. Project to help distribute the donations they had received from the drive. Martell also invited Dr. Omori to speak to the Lodge about the Hawaiʻi H.O.M.E. Project upon learning that the organization holds several fundraisers to help cover the cost of running the clinic.
“I found out that Dr. [Omori] did bake sales, is what I was told,” Martell explained as she thought back to what she had heard about how H.O.M.E. Project gets its funding. “And now and then, she got the opportunity to get donations from others, and that’s how she kept the organization running… Because of that, I invited her to come speak to the lodge, and the lodge decided to donate to the program.”
The gift could not have come at a better time.. Last year, Hawaiʻi H.O.M.E. Project’s RV, its original mobile clinic vehicle, had been vandalized. Supplies had also been stolen. The H.O.M.E. Project has since been gifted with a new van, but Martell’s concerns were mostly focused on making sure the mobile clinic would be well-stocked with supplies to continue its service.
For Ball, giving to H.O.M.E. Project aligned with the lodge’s mission. As volunteers, members work on projects for underserved youth, veterans, and the houseless community. He saw this gift as an opportunity to continue to help an underserved community, as well as a way to give support to JABSOM medical students.
“We’d love to see this program continue to flourish…It’s both supporting our young med students as well as the [houseless] community,” Ball said.“It’s a great synthesis of both things. I’d love to see this expand further and provide a lot of opportunity to a lot of different people.”
Martell added to that sentiment, stating, “I definitely feel that it is a worthy program in terms of community service. Because of that, I want to see it continue because there’s nobody else that I know that does what they’re doing.”
By Janell Agcaoili, JABSOM Communications