BYRON TWP, Mich. (WZZM) - Last March, we told you about a medical clinic-on-wheels being sent to Haiti to provide aid to people without any way to pay for it. We're happy to report the van has been a hit; already helping hundreds.
The first group of West Michigan missionaries using the van returned this week, bringing us the first pictures of it in action.
The Congregation at Calvary Church in Holland has been taking mission trips to haiti for years, seeing the need to move a medical treatment area out of a woman's living room, and some place more mobile.
"They looked in other states to find somebody. Nobody wanted to make this van," said Jon Sikkes of American RV in Byron Township. "(Calvary) didn't realize all that was involved. Somehow they just decided to call an RV dealership, which was us, in their own community."
Sikkes, and his co-worker, Hank Neuiver, got to work on the unusual project right away. "Starting from scratch was definitely something new for us," said Nuiver.
The pair donated 360 hours of labor to turning the Mercedes Sprinter Van into a free medical clinic-on-wheels.
The van was sent to Haiti in March.
"People who are getting services pay nothing, which is phenomenal for them. They don't have the money or the means," said Sikkes. He decided to take his volunteering a step further; seeing the van's journey through to Haiti in person. "We were on the streets of Haiti with the van, and one of the doctors shook my hand and gave me a big, bear hug; telling me how I had no idea how I completed his dream. It was just moving."
Sikkes says the problems were so shocking to him; seeing so many people without access to clean water and sanitation. "We have everything and these people have nothing."
"It's really awesome that they're getting the use out of it," added Nuiver. "Everything is functioning as it should, and I'm definitely proud of that."
An odd job done for both men, and now they look forward to the next time they can help with similar projects in the future.
To keep the van up and running, donations are still needed. You can give to at American RV, or Calvary Church in Holland. Donations can be made on the church's website, as well.