IN Millcreek Summer 2017 - Page 60

48 Years and Counting Millcreek medical equipment ministry makes an impact around the world. By Angela Magee The entire Chosen IMA team takes a moment for a group photo. The group helps to provide medical equipment to healthcare providers in impoverished countries. T he story of Chosen International Medical Assistance (Chosen IMA) began in Erie nearly half a century ago when Richard Love, a quality control employee of a medical equipment manufacturing company, traveled to a hospital in Korea on a mission trip. Once home, Love noticed his employer discarding a sterilizer that was in far better shape than the one he had just worked to fix at the hospital in Korea. He requested the rejected unit, refurbished it and shipped it to Korea. The entire experience prompted Love to take a sabbatical from his job. He traveled extensively, visiting nine countries and 32 hospitals on his first excursion. Love saw how great the need was in impoverished countries to get reliable, safe and functioning medical equipment. He decided to start Chosen. Love began the ministry from his home on Love Road in Millcreek. Quickly outgrowing his garage, he moved operations to a warehouse, and then outgrew that space as well. In 1984, Chosen IMA eventually settled at its current location on West 26th street. 58 724.942.0940 TO ADVERTISE | Millcreek Love passed away a few years ago at the age of 92 and is survived by his wife, Edith. Chosen IMA’s executive director Rick King and three other full time employees now carry on Love’s life mission. Today, the ministry supplies medical equipment to clinics in 110 countries around the world, donates more than 100 home healthcare items to local Erie residents each month and sends teams of volunteers on medical mission trips to Mexico. In the beginning, Chosen IMA took any kind of medical equipment and supplies it could get and refurbished or repurposed them for hospitals in impoverished nations that had little chance of being able to afford any decent medical equipment. The ministry found a niche with its sterilizers, especially as advances in technology made the units increasingly reliant on electronics. Chosen IMA makes a unique sterilizer, as it is completely stripped down and taken back to 1950s technology. Rick King explains, “We take a modern unit that is donated and we strip it down, take out the electronics and then we bead blast it so it’s clean. We paint it, remount it and build a new framework around it. It’s all manual. No electrical on it at all.”