Meet Scientology Volunteer Minister Josh
Following his interview with NBC we asked Josh to tell us how he came to work in Haiti and his experiences in a field operating room that could compare war zone field hospital. Here is his response, straight from the Volunteer Ministers camp in Port-Au-Prince:
"I live my life with the motto ‘I am going to change the world’ and I try to live by this in everything I do.
"I love to work for organizations that help and to personally help as many people as I can.
"I had just moved from Los Angeles to Seattle two weeks earlier when my friend Yoshimi called me on Sunday, January 17, and told me that the Scientology Volunteer Ministers had been contacted by more than 100 doctors and nurses who want into to go to Haiti and needed Volunteer Ministers to go help them with anything needed. I immediately said I was in, dropped the job I was supposed to start two days later, told the manager of the apartment I was securing that I was going out of the country and with no money arranged a flight from Seattle to LA. I made it to LA, got my passport in one day and embarked for Haiti on Thursday Jan 21.
"Upon arriving here I was very excited about helping and wanted to get right into action. I accepted the first position offered at the first meeting I went to, not even knowing what it entailed. We started working at the Miami University Hospital organizing their very chaotic, unsorted, catastrophe of a supply tent. They were very skeptical of us working there at first–they would only allow four VMs to help them and we had to be cleared through their armed guards. Within two hours of us working there they loved us and they asked us to bring two extra guys. By the end of the day we had a crew of about 16 people working for them.
"At one point we found about 30 stuffed animals amongst all the medical supplies and brought them to the pediatrics tent-which was one of the most emotional things I have experienced here. Those stuffed animals put such smiles on those kids' faces!
"The next couple days were filled with a lot of sweat and exhaustion, but our hard work was paying off––they wanted us to work more hours and kept on giving us more responsibility. They even had us retrieving patients who had just landed in Black Hawk helicopters. There are no words to describe what it was like to retrieve those airlifted patients. It was like a scene from the TV show MASH.
"On Saturday, an Operating Room Tech, Cheryl, teamed up with us in the supply tent so we could properly identify and organize the medical supplies.
"When we were done Cheryl went to my superior on the Volunteer Ministers team and said she wanted me in the Miami University Hospital Operating Room with her the following day. Before this people who weren't medically trained were not allowed into the OR. I began working as a Central Processor in the OR. The job included sterilizing all the instruments and making the kits for the doctors’ surgeries.
"The following day they added another Volunteer Minister to my OR crew. The doctors were relieved and grateful for the work we were doing for them, they were surprised that we quickly learned the names for the instruments. We could give them almost anything they needed, as long as we had it. Necessity was such that we could not waste time-those doctors needed their instruments immediately in the middle of surgeries and I had to know what they needed. So I did.
"In the days following, they started training me in OR Tech work (scrubbing up for the surgeries and assisting the doctors at the table, handing the instruments to the doctors, cutting the 'string' during stitching up the patients, blotting the blood from the wounds while they operate, holding the skin together from a recently amputated body part while they stitched up, and even drilling pins into broken bones). That's what I am doing now. Every day in the OR is a new experience and every day we get the most positive feedback from all the doctors and nurses. Many of them tell me I need to train as a doctor because this isn't something that most people can do. Maybe, but for right now I am here in Haiti, to help.
"Amid all the horror and madness that can happen in the OR, there is mystifying beauty as well... the birth of a baby was the most beautiful thing... in the middle of the pain of Haiti, tears of beauty and happiness as you see this new creation arrive. When you save a life and give people a chance, it outweighs all the horror you see and hear.
"I wouldn't trade the time I have had here for millions of dollars. I have given my blood, sweat and tears to these people. I am faced with a possibility (albeit very slight) that I could get sick, as anyone else working with injured. But as I told The Today Show in an interview, I don’t regret having come here. I came here to help and that is what I am doing. Because of doing these things, or helping people in any way I can, I am satisfied with my life and I will give it my all.