One Of A Kind

Well, this is the beginning of a new week. This morning I went to Banistmo to see how they were doing with my request to be able to access the stroke victim’s account to pay his bills. I was told that no word has come back from Panama City and to come back Thursday. Most banking decisions are done in PC and totally out of the control of local banks.

Next I went to see Tom McCormack in his office. He was working with an individual on an arm prothesis. There were two more people waiting to see him and Ruby said there were 8 scheduled for today. Four are currently scheduled for tomorrow..

A young man, I would say in his late teens to early 20s, was there missing his lower right leg. His mother told me he had an accident in his house with a glass table top. This had happened about a month ago. I think I heard Tom say that he would need a little more time for the leg to heal before he could fit him with a prothesis.

The young man, his mother and his sister had come to David from Costa Rica.

Tom told me that he is now receiving clients from Panama City, the Darién, other parts of Panama outside Chiriquí, as well as a few from Costa Rica.

Tom showed me some photos of a school he had just outfitted with an English lab.

I hope I can go back tomorrow and get a new post written on more of the work he is doing. Continue reading

Arming the Chiricanos

I have written several posts about Tom McCormack and his benevolence in Chiriquí. His next container will arrive in September.

You also may remember his current work on prosthetics. He began doing legs. Here is a post showing that work.

In his latest project, he is now developing his own process for doing arms. He sent me a PDF, that presents the steps, and you can download it by clicking HERE.

I forgot to add that all of the time and assistance Tom provides is at no cost to the recipients. If you know an individual that can benefit from Tom’s generosity, contact me and I will put you in touch with Tom.

Bid for Boquete Date Nearing.

Posted By request.

BOQUETE, Panama – Bid 4 Boquete’s big annual weekend is fast approaching with something for everyone.  Mark your calendars for March 1st and 2nd, 2014. The Bid4Boquete weekend features a wine tasting, live auction, silent auction, a sweet bake sale, food, drink, children’s games, and then caps things off with the hugely popular Venta de Patio.

The festivities kick-off   Saturday evening, March 1st. with the live auction and wine tasting at the Boquete Community Players building. This event sells out early every year and has become the social event of the year in Boquete. Live auction items include furnishings, resorts, art/photos, adventures, and much more.

Wine lovers will be treated to a wide array of varieties paired with appetizers chosen to bring out the best of the vintages and sure to please the palates of even the most discriminating oenophile. Add entertainment to the menu of wine, appetizers, and hot auction items and you have a not-to-be-missed social event so buy your tickets early.  Tickets are available at Mail Boxes, Etc and the Tuesday BCP Market.

Sunday, March 2nd is the annual Bid4Boquete bake sale, silent auction, children’s games and Venta de patio sale. These events always draw large crowds and will be held at the newly remodeled Arco Iris room at the Fairgrounds across from the BCP. The bargains begin flying out soon after the doors open at noon.

Come with the family for a delicious lunch (either tipico or gringo) featuring the famous Burt’s hamburgers and French fries.  Enjoy a drink from John’s Bar. There is lots of fun for everyone

with kid’s games and Mike’s professional photos of the whole family.

Bid4Boquete is best known for its on-going web auction which also culminates that weekend with fabulous vacations, packages, products, gifts and services available that extend from the wilds of Africa to the shores of Boca Chica and the entire Boquete valley.

Bid4Boquete Co-Chair Penny Barrett says some of the best deals of the year can be seen in the Auction Gallery  where you can “buy it now” or wait and “hope” you win the best bid.  No matter which you choose, it all goes for a great cause; the less fortunate in our Boquete community, so bid now, bid later and bid often.”

Penny, Bonnie Williams, and Anayansi Menendez (las tres mujeres) also say to make sure you support the merchants and people who donate to Bid4Boquete: “It really does take a village to make this all work along with thousands of volunteer hours for which we are extremely grateful.”  Last year Bid4Boquete supported eleven different agencies or charities totaling more than $70 thousand dollars raised during its March fundraiser.


Arming the Chiricanos

DSC00170No, I am not talking about a Panamanian version of the NRA. I am talking about my good friend Tom McCormack and his prosthesis project. He has currently fitted 82 legs and I don’t know how many arms.

His latest project has been to create an arm prosthesis from 1 1/2 inch PVC pipe for a man that had been without an arm for over 20 years.DSC00171

Tom takes each one of these projects as a personal challenge. Sometimes it takes him several months to get it to the point that he is satisfied he has done all he can do. Tom gives new meaning to giving your fellow man a helping hand. Shoot, he gives them arms and legs too.

He can’t always help and I am sure the hardest thing he does is tell someone, he can’t improve their situation.

Tom and his wife’s foundation has helped many individuals, clinics, and hospitals in Chiriquí. I am proud to have him as a friend. When I fell a month ago, he sent me an email telling me he had some walkers and canes, but he had run out of the buttons that said, “I have fallen and I can’t get up”.

Tom keeps a good sense of humor and dealing with many of the hardship cases he deals with, requires a sense of humor.

Tom has brought twelve 40 foot containers to Chiriquí filled with all sorts of medical equipment, breast prothesis for women who had mastectomies, wheelchairs, crutches, hospital beds, etc. Number 12 was written up HERE.

Photos are the property of Tom McCormack. Here is the Tom and Linda McCormack Foundation.

Container 12 Update

I received word from Tom McCormack yesterday that the paperwork was being processed and his assumption is that Saturday will be the date for unloading container 12.

He will confirm today and I will update this post if it is conformed. The Google map of the deposit is HERE.

UPDATE: The paperwork did not get done. Saturday will not be the date.

UPDATE: The container arrived late Saturday night and has been unloaded. Tom didn’t want to have people come out late at night. Rubi worked her magic and had 41 people show up to unload.

Container Twelve Status

load2013My understanding is that the paperwork for Container 12 is being worked on at this very moment. It should be in David soon.

It is going to be unloaded in David at a new location this time. Tom and his helpers have been working hard the last few days to get the site ready. It still had a ways to go when I went last week to get the location for a Google Map.

Here is the Google Map for the new location.

As soon as I have the exact delivery date, I will post it. Here is a post of Tom’s last delivery.


Container 12 On The Way


Click to enlarge

I just received word from Tom McCormack that his 12th container has been loaded and is ready to ship,

Just like all of Tom’s containers, this one will contain:

  • Home orthopedic beds
  • Walkers
  • Crutches
  • Lots of wheelchairs
  • Leg and arm prothesis
  • Things for the orthopedic doctors at Regional Hospital.
  • Lots of yarn for Boquete knitters.
  • Things for Boquete hospice and a hospice group in Panama City
  • Lots of wigs, cancer caps and prosthetic breasts.

It is due to arrive in Colon Oct 21. Tom will be here to meet it. When Tom notifies me that it is coming to David, I will post where and when you can come to help unload.

To see the previous delivery of containers 9, 10, and 11 click HERE.  If you want to see the work Tom has done fitting prothesis, click HERE.

The Handicap Foundation of Panama in Boquete

Last month I was fortunate to be invited to the Handicap Foundation of Panama Boquete Chapter). This was a followup to my visiting Buenos Vecinos de Boquete in February.

The Handicap Foundation of Panama, as the name implies, focuses on the handicapped population. To get a real appreciation of the aid that is provided and to feel the sense of gratefulness from the clients, you really have to visit the site in Boquete.

I met Gail Cody at the Branding Iron restaurant and followed her to The Foundation’s Boquete Site. Following is a photo of the entrance.


The first thing I noticed upon entering was the distributions for Buenos Vecinos de Boquete.

P1030314BVB has been packing food at the Handicap center for about 4 years.  It is convenient for the Handicap members to pick their food up when they come for their weekly meeting, Buenos Vecinos packs for 45 members currently. They represent over half of our clients. BVB appreciates having the use of their facility.
It is also easier for BVB to have the large volume of food delivered there and much better for packing. They buy in bulk so they get more food for our $$$.

Volunteers were helping in all sorts of activities. Here puzzles were being assembled.



P1030318I got to meet Rodny Moreno, who is the voice you talk to when you call 911 Alta al Crimen. Not only does he answer all calls, but he manages the resident database and contact list. Good English, Great Attitude and an inspiration to those of us that sometimes need push to help others.

I visited a room where clients were getting physical therapy. Many of the clients have more than one handicap. They may be blind and crippled. Human touch is very important for them to feel loved.


You will have to take my word for it, the young boy on the left had been waiting for this person to give him his therapy. When she started, he was overcome with laughter. You cannot be near a situation like this and feel no emotion. At least I can’t.


Two more clients of the Foundation.


I visited the kitchen. Family members are required to help in anyway they can. This is not a drop off babysitting site. Care and attention are provided for all, but participation is expected. There was a wood fire going outside and soon rice would start being cooked.


P1030328I got a photo of three of the honchos of The Boquete Foundation. Susan Peterson is on the right and she provided me a writeup on The Handicap Foundation. I am going to attach it at the end of this post.

The next two photos were taken in the language class for deaf people. In this class, the individuals are given the tools to function in a sound oriented world. Can you imagine the difficulty of learning a language without being able to hear?


To do this, they have to learn to sign and as they learn the sign, they also must lern how to write the word. In the next photo you see the instructor doing the instruction and she has an assistant that is writing the words on the board.


Here are a couple photos taken in an English class.


The following photos provide an interesting story. The lady you see here is a volunteer that comes and gives massages to the clients. The young boy is also a client here that is deaf and has had a difficult time learning to participate. While watching the massages being given he started wanting to help and now enjoys massaging lotion. He is now calmer and has probably gained a sense of accomplishment.


I want to thank The Handicap foundation for inviting me and Gail Cody for making sure I didn’t get lost. If you sometimes feel lost and are not feeling a real sense of value in your retirement days, this is a place that will remove that feeling. I encourage you to participate with this worthwhile community project either in time or with financial assistance.

Following is Susan Peterson’s writeup on The Handicap Foundation. Continue reading