Faculty, Students prepare for medical mission  

For the York College students who will visit Haiti over spring break, the service-learning trip will be an adventure and a chance to gain hands-on, international experience.

For Associate Professor of Biology Milton Eckhart and his family, it will be a homecoming.

Eckhart will return to Haiti with a group of 17 American volunteers for an 8-day medical mission trip in March. Seven of the team members are from York College. 

PictureHannah Wilke, a senior biology major, is excited for the trip to Haiti.
This is the second time Eckhart has organized a medical mission team from York College to serve in Haiti, where he used to live and work as a missionary.​ Several of the York College students going on the trip are planning to pursue healthcare related careers. This trip is an opportunity for them to practice their skills and use their gifts in a real-world setting.

One such student is Hannah Wilke, a senior biology major from North Platte, Nebraska. Wilke plans to attend chiropractic college after she graduates from YC this spring, and may also pursue studies in nutrition or strength and conditioning. Wilke loves travel and is passionate about serving others. Growing up in a missions-active church, she’s had many opportunities to do these kinds of trips before, but has always had scheduling conflicts. Wilke felt like this trip to Haiti was her last good opportunity to participate in an overseas missions experience before graduation, when life gets more complicated.

Wilke says she’s not worried about fundraising or her safety while in Haiti, but she is a bit intimidated by the language barrier. “I don’t know what to expect, but I’m ready to have the experience of a lifetime and make the most of it,” she said.

PictureAn eye exam at See Him Ministry's new facility in Cap-Haitien.
The team from York will work with See Him Ministries, the organization that Eckhart and his wife, Holly, a registered nurse, helped establish in the early 2000s. See Him Ministries recently opened a new medical and eye care clinic, which Eckhart has not yet seen. Either Milton or Holly Eckhart visits the site annually, but Milton has not been able to go for several years. On this trip, both husband and wife will go, as well as two of the couple’s five children, Chloe and current YC student Thomas.

The See Him Ministries clinic is named in memory of Cathy Pearson, the wife of former York College faculty member Dr. Mark Pearson, who has also served in medical missions in Haiti.

Eckhart’s team will spend some time at the clinic in Cap-Haitien seeing patients, then spend several days visiting rural villages in the mountains to offer health and wellness classes and to pass out kits containing first aid supplies, pain relievers, and antifungal creams. They will also go house to house to care for the sick in these remote locations and conduct screenings for common ailments such as hypertension and diabetes.

Part of their time will be spent working with the preacher training school where Eckhart used to teach. One of the students from the preacher training school was recently killed in an accident. While Eckhart’s team is visiting, they will hold a memorial service for this young man and present a gift of funds to his widow and children. Eckhart says despite the sadness of that part of the visit, he is looking forward to seeing his former students and guest teaching at the school.

Those that wish to support the team traveling to Haiti over spring break can reach out to Eckhart at meckhart@york.edu or call (402)363-5673.