One Country's Medical Junk Is Another's Treasure

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Oct. 3, 2011 12:00 am  

David Lawyer, right, and John Kachelman of Life Resources International in Judsonia unload donated school items to prepare to ship to developing nations. The group collects donations from multiple schools, hospitals and other organizations.

Once at their destination, the containers must clear country boundaries.

"The [overseas] government has to give a waiver of tariff," Kachelman said, adding that this isn't always easy. "But in Somalia, who's in charge? You don't know. But somehow they got us a letter."

The efficiency by which Life Resources sends aid has created somewhat of a reputation, Kachelman said.

"When I was in Ukraine last October, I got a phone call from the U.S. Department of Defense," he said. The department told Kachelman it had a container of wheelchairs bound for Ukraine that had been waylaid for at least two years.

Volunteer David Lawyer "took a truck up to Cincinnati and got done in six months what they couldn't do in two years," Kachelman said. "The government has programs for this, but they use faith-based groups like us because the bureaucracy can't get it done."

In addition, when reporting how much aid it sends overseas, the government includes all Life Resources International's inventory value in its reports.

"They get the credit," Kachelman said. "But we don't mind, because they're helping us."



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