In three months, 26-year-old Rachel Foltz will fulfill a dream and a calling when she leaves her full-time job, her family, and friends to move to Honduras. The daughter of Jeff and Elise Foltz of Dover will head up a branch of Central American Medical Outreach, a non-profit, non-denominational, Christian-based humanitarian organization that brings life-saving medical services, education, and community development to Central America.
Foltz, who has served as a physical therapy assistant at Devine Hall of Fame Nursing and Rehabilitation for the past five years, made her first trip to the small village of Subirana on a mission trip with her church in 2009.
“We live in this secure bubble,” she said. “Three trips to the poorer parts of Honduras during my high school years radically changed my perspective of what life was really about.
“Most of the residents are coffee farmers or small shop owners. We would help with construction in the mornings and hold Bible School in the afternoons. Evenings, my father and I and another father/daughter pair would visit homes and get to know the people. We found them to be joyful, full of faith and family love.”
She joked that as a teen she thought she could live on peanut butter and not have to eat the local food.
“The airline confiscated my jar and I thought I would probably starve to death,” she said, “but what a surprise it was to find a jar of Jiff in the local store. I actually tried food and found I liked it, except maybe for the iguana.”
Foltz’s purpose in Honduras will be three-fold: To train doctors and nurses in more modern techniques of CPR, and Ultra Sound, and to provide medical equipment for the area hospital. She has signed a contract to run the Yoro project, under the auspices of CAMO, in hopes of ultimately helping Honduras become self-sustaining. During her first trip back to the country with CAMO, Foltz said she taught nurses how to use physical therapy to get their patients out of bed and moving.
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“When I saw the impact CAMO was making, I wanted to make a generational impact myself, and began praying for guidance in my calling,” she said. “My prayers were answered, so here I am.”
All this does not come easily as Foltz is responsible for raising $40,000 to cover her vehicle and living expenses for the duration of the project. While she has been speaking locally and received some private donations, she is hoping to raise much of the money during the CAMO Yoro golf scramble Sunday, Aug. 21 at Oak Shadows Golf Club. The event includes a continental breakfast, lunch and awards. There is a hole-in-one contest for $5,000 cash winnings, 18 holes of golf with cart, strip steak lunch, raffles and drawings. The cost for a four-person scramble is $100 a golfer. Companies may sponsor any of the activities. Online registration and sponsorship options may be found at Camo.org/yoro-project. For questions contact Foltz at email@example.com or 330-691-1527.
It is a far cry from Foltz’s beginnings to answering her call.
“I grew up in my car seat in my Dad’s veterinary clinic,” she said. “Mom was working the front desk so there was no one to watch me. Dad was such a good teacher. In elementary school, I was taking x-rays for show and tell, I watched surgeries and learned animal anatomy and went on emergency calls with him. He gave me my love of medicine. I was definitely going to be a vet. But in my sophomore year I took a human anatomy course and watched the athletic trainer rehabilitate injured players. I was able to serve as a training aide, and I knew that was what I wanted to do. At 16 I had to tell Dad I wanted to be a physical therapist instead of a vet. My grandfather, Don Foltz, a physical therapist at Union Hospital, encouraged me to shadow workers at Health Plex, I went to North Central State College in Mansfield, and began working in the field right away.
“It’s certainly a big jump from the most exciting thing in my life being a member of Dover’s state volleyball team to helping the desperately poor and forgotten to live a better life,” Foltz said. “I am taking online Spanish classes and preparing to simplify. I’m not sure how long this particular project will last, but in my mind’s eye, I can see it being my life from now on.”