Why I Volunteer – Galen Stahle

Below is a brief interview with Galen Stahle, a longtime Mano a Mano supporter, about why he volunteers with Mano a Mano. Over the next few months we are going to be sharing a number of ‘Why I Volunteer’ stories, to highlight some of the wonderful people that truly make our organization go.

Thanks Galen!

(Read another Why I Volunteer profile about Bob Lundgren HERE.)

Galen Stahle

Galen Stahle

In Galen’s Own Words:

I got interested in Mano a Mano because I heard that they were reusing medical supplies that were being thrown away in the United States. As a doctor, I was aware of what an incredible amount of waste goes on.

At the time I was consulting at a hospital in western Minnesota.  I made a friend of the man in charge of the supply room for the hospital. He helped me put boxes in the operating rooms so they could collect usable material from there. We started collecting boxes of scalpels, blades, hemostats, forceps, suture kits, scissors, etc. — supplies that were still sterile and in their original packages but would have been dumped as garbage. I knew they would be useful in Mano a Mano clinics.

He also saved and collected “expired” supply items from the supply room — things that don’t really expire or get old but, for hospital purposes, are required to “expire” at a certain date after manufacture — bandages, wraps, dressings, masks, latex gloves, emergency blankets, cold pack, splints, etc. I eagerly gathered these up and brought them to Mano a Mano for shipment to Bolivia.Later, when they refinished and refurbished the hospital and built a new wing, they had several incubators that they weren’t going to continue to use. So I got three or four incubators and another three or four dialysis machines, which I was told would otherwise just have gone to the junk heap.

I was glad to be able to save those and get them down to Bolivia, because I knew they could be used down there. That’s how I got involved with Mano a Mano and why I continue to be involved with Mano a Mano to this day.