BELIZE CITY, Belize - For many in the business of helping others, if just one life is made better by their service, then all the effort is well worth it.
U.S. Air Force Maj. (Dr.) Jason Massengill, a urogynecologist who volunteered to deploy in support of New Horizons Belize 2014, had the opportunity to better many lives.
U.S. Air Force Maj. (Dr.) Jason Massengill, New Horizons urogynecologist, center, performs surgery on a Belizean woman with the assistance of U.S. Air Force Maj. (Dr.) Heather Barbier, left, and U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Erin Watson, right, June 9, 2014, in an operating room at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City, Belize. A U.S. Air Force surgical team arrived in Belize to spend two weeks conducting urogynecology procedures and surgeries in coordination with the KHMH staff. More than 40 patients were screened through the KHMH, and 22 procedures were completed during this phase of the training exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kali L. Gradishar)
New Horizons provides valuable training opportunities for Belizean, Canadian and U.S. medical providers as they work together to provide health care options for the Belizean people.
With 15 years in the Air Force and starting in obstetrics and gynecology, Massengill decided to take a different path in the medical field that ultimately led to him being in Belize performing surgeries for patients in the local area.
"I really enjoyed the surgery aspect much more, and I always have," Massengill said of his transition to urogynecology. "There are a lot of quality of life improving surgeries in the field."
After two weeks in Belize, Massengill played a part in many life-improving surgeries.
"I volunteered to come here," said Massengill, who has also deployed in support of New Horizons Peru. "I think we're doing really good work, and I think all the groups have done their part to improve the lives of the patients we've come across."
Massengill, a native of Anderson, Ind., said the best part about the trip has been interacting with the patients and physicians, but he also appreciated the opportunity to learn how an operation such as New Horizons works.
"I think learning the inner workings of a large exercise is invaluable," he revealed. "We had a lot of communications with our liaisons in Belize, and that's also increased our capabilities."
Years ago, Massengill made the decision to don the uniform and has since spent countless hours learning and refining his craft.
"I initially joined the Air Force to pay for medical school, and now I'm committed," he said. "I originally signed up for four years, but I've enjoyed the Air Force and have turned it into a career."
While his many members of his wife's family are veterans, Massengill said, he is the first person in his family to leave the state, let alone the country. He lived in Japan, stationed at Misawa Air Base.
"My family is very proud. They know this has been a large commitment," he said, referring to his goal of reaching retirement after 20 years in the Air Force. "We'll see what the Air Force brings."
By U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kali Gradishar
Provided through DVIDS
Comment on this article