Cornwall Manor Residents Share Skills Cross Cultures
Veterinarians have a unique skill set that is valued by many people. Everyone wants their animals to be healthy but not every community has access to the professional skills of veterinary professionals. Most of these unreached people live in rural communities where livestock play a central role in their livelihood by providing income, nutrition and labor. A chicken’s eggs can be sold for grocery money. Goats provide a protein-rich milk to nourish growing children. A donkey provides transportation and brings goods to the market to sell. A herd of cows may serve as a retirement fund. When these animals are in poor health, are weak, plagued with disease or die, it drastically impacts the lives of their owners. A healthy animal can literally make the difference between life and death for an entire family.
Christian Veterinary Mission (CVM) is a sister organization to World Concert that sends veterinarian professionals to remote areas in the United States and to over 30 countries around the world. In addition to doctoring animals, they provide training in basic animal health, nutrition, first aid and disease prevention.
Cornwall Manor residents, David and Linda Burrichter have been involved with CVM since 1991. David grew up on an Iowa farm and he enjoyed taking care of the farm animals, which led him into veterinary medicine at Iowa State University. Here, he met Linda, who was a ‘city girl’ from New Jersey majoring in Home Economics. Linda graduated and the pair married in 1965. After David graduated in 1967, he performed vet care for dairy animals in Tyrone, PA for five years. In 1972, he purchased an outpatient animal clinic in Columbia and grew the practice to 15 employees, including three doctors. He also added emergency and urgent care to the supportive care services. After a successful career, David sold the business in 2005.
“We have always felt very fortunate to have a successful business and it is important to us to give back. It is our duty as Christians to help others,” stated David.
David has been on 13 missions’ trips through CVM including Nicaragua, Haiti, Ecuador, Belize, Honduras, and Guatemala. Linda has accompanied him on nine of the trips. Their most recent trip was a weeklong in October 2018 to the Zuni Indian Reservation located in western New Mexico about 150 miles west of Albuquerque. David was part of a team of veterinarians for both small and large animals and vet techs who spayed and neutered dogs and cats as well as providing essential vaccinations. Over the course of the week long clinic, a total of 170 surgeries were completed among all the doctors.
Each trip has its unique challenges such as uncooperative weather, flight delays, travel glitches and language barriers. Some locations require setting up temporary clinics and an openness to meet the needs they are surprised with each morning.
“It is very rewarding to meet people of different cultures,” shares Linda. “The people are grateful for the veterinary services provided but also for the friendship and spiritual encouragement that the team brings with them and we feel blessed to be part of that.”