It was senior health science major Shelby Tanguay’s fourth Legacy of Healing medical mission trip assisting an orthopedic surgeon in the operating room. This time, however, she was much more involved.
The team Shelby worked with at the Julia Santana Municipal Hospital in Tamayo, Dominican Republic, removed the extra fingers and toes of a boy. Shelby’s younger brother, sophomore health science major Ryan Tanguay, got to watch. He knew how much this opportunity meant for his sister, whose dream is to become a doctor.
“The boy’s favorite sport was baseball but he couldn’t play because he couldn’t fit his hands into the glove and he didn’t have the normal shoes,” Shelby said. “This changed his life; he is going to be able to play his favorite sport.”
It changed the Tanguay siblings' lives, too. Ryan hasn’t always shared Shelby’s dream, but after going on his first medical mission trip to Paraguay, he returned to Southern and switched his major to health science. His experience in this more recent trip reinforced his decision.
“We worked with an unbelievable team,” he said. “Everyone wanted to be there and they were appreciative that we wanted to learn.”
Shelby and Ryan’s unique experience in the Dominican Republic will be a part of the film “The Adventists II,” a sequel to Journey Films’ 2010 documentary “The Adventists.” In this sequel, award-winning filmmaker Martin Doblmeier takes viewers on a journey into the medical missions of Seventh-day Adventist church members.
“I made the first film and I thought it was all I had been called to do, but we kept hearing about the medical missionaries and saw there was another story to tell,” Doblmeier said.
Nathan DeWild, a 2011 film production graduate from Southern, worked behind the scenes as principal cameraman for the film. The crew never expected to highlight Southern students, though. In fact, Nathan was surprised when his former peers recognized him.
“You go to a place in the Dominican Republic expecting to film physicians and then you run in to Southern students!” Nathan joked.
Shelby and Ryan were thrilled to be in the film.
“This university has given me the basis for my dream,” Shelby said. “So this was an incredible opportunity to represent my school and I was even able to wear my Southern scrubs.”
Doblmeier, whose 30 films have been about religion and faith, said the idea of medical missionaries paying their own way to do these trips will be an inspiring element of “The Adventists II.”
“The film raises major questions about Americans being health ambassadors to the rest of the world,” he said.
Besides the Dominican Republic, other countries the Journey Films crew travels to in the documentary are Haiti, China, Malawi, Brazil, and Peru.
“The Adventists II” will be released for broadcast on PBS stations in early 2013.