Paris Surgeon Ready to Take Lead with Global Citizens

four volunteers standing in front of wall of medications

PARIS, TN – Dr. Ray Compton’s medical knowledge and surgical skills have previously taken him to Tanzania, Ecuador, Mexico, and Iraq. But his latest trip to Honduras in early October had him in a dual role and one which will translate into return trips in the years ahead.

As co-leader of a 12-member group organized by Global Citizen Adventure Corps co-founder and Bethel University Global Studies Director Stacie Freeman, he helped lay a foundation for expanding the partnership with MDM Honduras, a nonprofit focused on a mountain community of approximately 3500 people in 15 villages.

Arriving on site for the clinic opening, a long-awaited dream-come-true of clinic founder Dr. Roxana Amador, Compton and fellow GCAC volunteers saw 63 patients in one day. Some walked an hour or more to be seen.

But Compton confesses that he didn’t walk away with the often-requested service testimonial ready to inspire awe in future travelers.

“We are simply offering care to the people who need it and doing what we can,” he said as he referenced the list of presenting ailments — high blood pressure, diabetes, sinus infections, and parasites.

While the symptoms didn’t prove to be life-threatening, what Compton describes as the big three for greatest impact offered by partnering groups like MDM Honduras and GCAC – clean water, concrete floors, and access to medical care – will make a huge difference.

The Paris resident and Henry Medical Center physician is preparing to be an ongoing part of that impact.

In the two-room facility – boasting the much-needed concrete floors which are being added regularly to village homes to help fight against untreated infections that the dirt floors can infect further – Compton says the resident physician has what she needs.

“It’s a step up from what most people are living in. It’s clean and well lit,” he reported.

After numerous trips where he has witnessed even greater obstacles to access for care, Compton says he is ready to trade in his co-leader role for that of leader of the return trips to Honduras for next year and following.

“I enjoy traveling and traveling with individuals who have very little travel experience and seeing through their eyes,” he said. “That is what will keep me working with the Bethel program. It does so much in expanding the world of those who participate.

“People are people no matter where you go. People are the same. You can get injured in Memphis and you can get injured in Africa or Honduras. You can also be welcomed and warmly received in Memphis, just as you can in Africa or Honduras.”

“You can’t live by fear,” he concluded. 

While he acknowledges that many who want a recounting of his travel experiences are often hoping for some inspirational takeaway, he says his motivation “is completely self-serving.”

“I get a charge out of going with these kids. There is something absolutely fun about playing all these ridiculous card games at 9 and 10 at night – after a long day,” he shared. “They’ve got games I’ve never heard of!”

Compton’s pragmatic and go-with-the-flow but get-the-job-done approach are exactly what’s needed as GCAC seeks to expand its offerings and its participant base in the years ahead, Freeman explained.

“We are thrilled that Ray has agreed to take the lead on return trips to Honduras,” she said. “He will be the guide medical students and professionals need to broaden their perspectives of healthcare and access to it.”

“Just as he was part of helping Dr. Amador realize her dream, he’s helping Bethel and GCAC as well. We know that giving students with financial need the opportunity to explore the world can be transformative for both them and their local communities. With his help, we are going to help make that happen again and again.”

Global Citizen Adventure Corps is a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to cultivating global citizens through education, service, and travel. By offering transferable college credit and donor-funded scholarships, GCAC actively builds pathways between rural high schools, universities, and a robust network of global nonprofit partners to provide travel program opportunities to underserved students. For more information visit www.globalcitizenadventurecorps.org.

Four team members stand in front of wall of medications
While readily acknowledging that much is needed in the Honduras mountain community where a West Tennessee team of travel-service-learning volunteers recently helped on opening day of a clinic, Dr. Ray Compton also admitted that a draw to such projects for him is what he gains from interacting with fellow volunteers and seeing the world through their eyes. He’s shown here with fellow members of the Global Citizen Adventure Corps “medical brigade” who served alongside a local Honduran doctor: Carson Stover (Union City, TN), Compton, Misty Vanlandingham (Dickson, TN), and Amber Minton (Union City, TN).



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