Russell Maroni shares his experience as a healthcare missionary
More than 1,700 miles away, Russell Maroni was working as an X-ray technologist at Akron Children’s Hospital. Married with a baby on the way in less than two months, he was busily pursuing a master’s degree in business administration and beginning Lean Six Sigma training. He wasn’t expecting to receive a calling, but then, who does?
“Will you come with me to Haiti?” asked pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) nurse Ryan Garabrandt as he helped Russell position a patient.
“Yeah right, my wife will go for that,” Maroni answered with a chuckle. But as the day went on, he couldn’t stop thinking about the proposition. And when he went home that night, he asked his wife what she thought of the idea. To his surprise, she was supportive.
“She said she had always wanted to do something like that,” Maroni said. “We joked that if God was calling me and I didn’t listen, I would be swallowed by a whale.”
And with that, Maroni began making plans for a journey that would bolster his faith, test his patience, and put to work the skills he had learned in clinical and Lean training. The details of Maroni’s journey, which began on Feb. 15, 2010, are told in his new e-book, “After the Haiti Earthquake: A Healthcare Missionary’s Journal.” With an introduction by Mark Graban, a senior fellow with the Lean Enterprise Institute, the e-book is a personal account of how the principles of Lean can help when time is of the essence and resources are scarce.
“I met Mark during one of his consulting visits to the hospital,” Maroni said. “He had heard about my trip and I mentioned that I kept a journal. Publishing it was his idea, and when he said it might be used to help the cause of Haitian relief, I was on board.”
Graban and Maroni worked together to format the e-book, available at Lean for Haiti. The e-book is free, but readers are encouraged to make a donation to Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH), an international organization that provides food, shelter and clothing for children in need. NPH is the nonprofit umbrella organization over St. Damien Hospital on the outskirts of Port-Au-Prince, where Drs. Jeff and Ellen Kempf and others from Akron Children’s Hospital have volunteered significantly.
A year later, Maroni, who is now a clinical supervisor in Radiology, describes the anniversary of the earthquake as bittersweet. Although he has many positive memories of his experience, he said there is much work to be done.
“Overall, my personal sacrifice was very small,” said Maroni, who mentioned that many others from the hospital have given their time and resources to Haiti. “My goal for this journal is that it might raise awareness of the need and the adventure of mission work.”