Thursday, January 17th, 2019

S Shopper Stories


UPSCALE RESALE FOR MONTERO MEDICAL MISSIONS

Retired surgeon Dr. Juan Montero is busier than ever
with medical missions around the world


by Donna Sanders Corbus


Dr. Juan M. Montero’s first medical mission trip to the Philippines in 1981<BR> proved to be a turning point in his life.

Dr. Juan M. Montero’s first medical mission trip to the Philippines in 1981
proved to be a turning point in his life.

Dr. Juan M. Montero’s schedule is busier than ever. Although retired, the surgeon has more energy than folks half his age, which he pours into medical missionary work focused on global and local health concerns. Most days, he can be found in the store he established: Upscale Resale for Montero Medical Missions. Now celebrating its second anniversary, the store sells pre-owned high quality clothing, shoes, and jewelry, including home goods, with the money going to fund Montero Medical Missions.

Dr. Montero grew up on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines, as one of seven children. At that time in the Phillippines, parents chose professions for their children. Dr. Montero recalls the dinner table talks in which he was told that he was to pursue a medical career. After attending medical school in Cebu City, he came to the United States in 1966 as part of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates program. “I was happy to come to the United States. In school, we studied U.S. History, so I was happy to be here,” Dr. Montero says, smiling. “I liked the unique relationship between the Philippines and the United States. My biggest break came when all the training was over and the attending thoracic surgeon at DePaul Hospital, the late Dr. William S. Hotchkiss, asked me to practice with him.”

When he first began at DePaul, a separate wing of the hospital had dorms for the interns. A couple of years later, the young doctors were moved to nearby apartments—something that Dr. Montero dreaded. “I couldn’t cook or do laundry, so I begged the medical director to let me to stay in the dorms,” Dr. Montero remembers, laughing. The hospital relented and gave him a room beside the chaplain.

It was during this time that he became friends with the housekeeper, the late Queenie Jenkins. One day, Queenie told Dr. Montero that he needed to call a cute student from the x-ray department. She gave him the student’s name and phone number. He called the girl, Mary Ann, the following Saturday. They dated for 15 months, and married on January 24, 1970 at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, just around the corner from the hospital.

Dr. Montero and Mary Ann didn’t waste time in starting a family, having four sons within six years. Three sons attended the University of Virginia for their undergraduate degrees. Oldest son, Daniel, is a sports medicine specialist with Mayo Clinic. Son Gregory is a corporate lawyer in Virginia Beach. Son Andy, a Johnson and Wales graduate, is a chef and restaurant owner. Son Paul is a surgeon in Colorado. All are married and have given 11 grandchildren to Dr. Montero and Mary Ann. “I give my wife 90 percent of the credit for raising such fine men,” says Dr. Montero with a smile. “Someone asked me once, why not give her 100 percent credit? Hey, I helped a little.”


“We’ll be heading back
to the Philippines in the fall to complete
our sustainable prosthesis project,
and to work on funding
for a motorized inter-island
medical clinic and its construction.”

  —Dr. Juan M. Montero



Volunteering for his first medical mission trip to the Philippines in 1981 was a turning point for Dr. Montero. “I was overwhelmed by the experience,” he declares, so much so that he wrote an article about the experience that was published in the journal Medical Economics. From then on, Dr. Montero began exploring ways to raise money and recruit volunteers from the medical community for upcoming medical missions, eventually creating Montero Medical Missions. The organization’s doctors focus on three main aspects of healthcare: eyesight, prosthetics and dental care. Future medical mission trips will also focus on women’s health and food for children.



From left: Volunteer Store Manager Linda Nimershiem, Volunteer Margaret Pleau <BR>and Operations Manager  Danielle Holbrook.

From left: Volunteer Store Manager Linda Nimershiem, Volunteer Margaret Pleau
and Operations Manager Danielle Holbrook.


Learning from past mission trips makes each new one more successful. “We’ve learned that we must let the communities tell us what they need,” Doctor Montero says. The objective of a trip is to institute sustainable projects, so that after the mission work is complete and the volunteer medical staff has returned home, the communities can still provide needed services for their citizens.

Most medical mission trips average 10 to 14 days, and 10 is the ideal number of volunteers for each trip. Because the host country provides room and board for volunteers, Montero Medical Missions doesn’t want to cause undue financial hardship on the host by taking too many people. Dr. Montero has participated in about 40 missions, which have included trips to the Philippines, China, Brazil, Mongolia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Sri Lanka. A few more countries are in the pipeline according to Dr. Montero. “We’ll be heading back to the Philippines in the fall to complete our sustainable prosthesis project, and to work on funding for a motorized inter-island medical clinic and its construction,” he says proudly.

Montero Medical Missions also ministers to Veterans in Hampton Roads by providing free Health Fairs, with the next being scheduled for May 12 at Chesapeake Regional Medical Center. Veterans need only to bring their military ID or a copy of their DD Form 214. Dr. Montero insists that such events would not be possible without generous partnerships with area medical practices and dental offices, as well as organizations such as Physicians for Peace, Rotarians and the Lions Club.

Back at the Upscale Resale store, Volunteer Store Manager Linda Nimershiem and Operations Manager Danielle Holbrook are busy helping customers, receiving donated goods, setting up merchandise displays and handling much of the administrative work. Other volunteers work one day a week, assisting wherever needed. “The key to our success is a strong volunteer force,” Dr. Montero insists.

 Meanwhile, the good doctor is busy preparing for Montero Medical Missions’ 2018 Annual Golf Classic. This yearly fundraiser will be held on June 4 at Honey Bee Golf Club in Virginia Beach.

Although Dr. Montero took up the game late in life, he has already made four holes-in-one. But for this “retired” surgeon, the pleasures of a day on the green pale when compared to the emotional reward he receives from his efforts to help those in need, whether here or abroad.




Upscale Resale for Montero Medical Missions

701 N. Battlefield Boulevard
Chesapeake, VA 23320

757-410-2995
http://www.monteromedicalmissions.org/store