Local judge helps with World Medical Relief

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By Christine L. Mobley

Legal News 
 
World Medical Relief is taking recycling to a whole other level.
 
WMR’s mission is to help the medically underserved both at home and abroad by collecting and distributing medicines, medical equipment, medical supplies, and related materials.
 
Committed to help WMR in its mission are members of its board, including Washtenaw County Trial Court Judge Archie Brown, Birmingham attorney Marcia Femrite, and Detroit attorney Guy Sohou.
 
Irene Auberlin, a Detroit housewife, founded World Medical Relief in 1953, largely inspired by the needs of a Korean War orphan. The outpouring of help Auberlin received from friends and family in collecting food, baby clothing, cribs, and medicines helped alleviate the pain and suffering of an orphanage with 400 children, according to the WMR website.
 
Brown, who serves as vice chair of the WMR board, was introduced to the World Medical Relief organization through the work of his wife, Dr. Barbara LaHood. She was working with the University of Michigan School of Medicine on a research project that involved assisting WMR in the organizing and shipping of medical supplies. After helping her on several occasions, Brown was struck by the industriousness and commitment of both the WMR staff and its volunteers.
 
Involved with the organization for more than four years, he is particularly impressed by Auberlin’s work that began 60 years ago in the basement of her home.
 
“I continue to marvel at what one person can do with an idea, stamina, and desire,” Brown said.  “WMR is a perfect example of how giving our country and its citizens are to those in need. Rather than dispose of used medical equipment in a dump, it gets recycled to somewhere else in the world. Rather than dispose of medicines/ drugs that would otherwise go unused, they are prescribed and distributed to our friends and neighbors in Southeastern Michigan.  Who would not want to volunteer for an organization that acquires medicines, supplies and equipment to provide them to others mostly at no cost?”
 
As vice chair, Brown has worked with the other attorneys on the board to revise and update the WMR’s bylaws and various internal documents to help ensure its vitality.
 
Femrite was drawn to WMR after attending one of its annual meetings. She was moved by the organization’s efforts both locally and overseas.
 
WMR has helped thousands both at home and abroad each year in addition to taking over blanket distribution from the American Red Cross in 2010, providing comforters and hygiene kits to local shelters.
 
After learning of the need for board members at the meeting in October 2009, Femrite felt compelled to join the WMR’s ranks and was installed as a board member in January 2010.
 
Femrite has helped WMR by serving on committees to review its insurance policies and its finances.
 
A native of the Ivory Coast, Sohou learned of the organization in 2006 while researching resources for medical equipment and prescription drugs for uninsured individuals within the Ivorian community.
 
“I was asked to join the board in 2012,” Sohou said, “because they were trying to build a board with a diverse background so that we could understand the needs of every corner of the globe where the poor and sick are in dire need of medical help.”
 
Editor’s note: A version of this story first appeared in the Summer 2013  editon of Motion magazine.

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