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For week ended January 23, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Summarized by Kent Larsen

LDS Missionary Couple Gets Ambulances for Georgia
Orange co CA Register 18Jan00 D2
By Jim Radcliffe: Orange County Register

MISSION VIEJO, CALIFORNIA -- While serving as LDS missionaries in the southern caucasus republic of Georgia, Phillip and Betty Reber discovered that the republic has an urgent need for ambulances. The poverty-stricken country simply didn't have enough to cover the country's needs.

So three months ago the retired Garden Grove, California principal and his wife got in touch with someone who could help solve the problem. The couple connected with Thomas Thorkelson, a Santa Ana, California LDS Church member who has been very active in the community and in ecumenical efforts.

Thorkelson put the Rebers in touch with Michael Dimas, a seventh-day adventist who is also CEO of his family's medical transport company, Medix. And now Medix has agreed to donate two or three ambulances a year from the company's 40-vehicle fleet to relieve the lack in Georgia. While the vehicles would be retired from the fleet anyway, Medix could sell the fully-equipped vehicles for as much as $15,000 each.

The LDS Church will transport the vehicles to Georgia, where the Rebers will make sure that they are put to good use locally. Thorkelson sees this partnership as taking advantage of the different needs in the U.S. and Georgia, "Here, the [maintenance] standards are so high," he said. "There, they don't have standards; they just need an ambulance."


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