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June 17, 2003

Local audiologist lends hand to Mexico's needy

From: Edwardsville Intelligencer, IL - Jun 17, 2003

Becky Gehling ,

Edwardsville resident Bob Lammert will service over 200 hearing impaired people in Northern Mexico this July, offering exams and hearing aids to those unable to receive care.

The city of Nuevo Casas Grandes had not seen an audiologist for six years prior to Lammert's 2002 visit. His presence was so deeply appreciated by the people in the area that he made the decision to return in 2003 to help more people overcome their hearing disabilities. His mission is titled "Labor of Love II."

Lammert will work out of the Association of Parents with Disabled Children Clinic, an organization that serves as a school for handicapped children with life threatening diseases such as Cerebral Palsy and Muscular Dystrophy.

"The first day I went to the clinic, it was a normal day," Lammert said. "The second day, there was a line outside the clinic at 8:30 a.m."

Lammert said the line wrapped around the entire block and almost met the clinic's entrance. People were coming out of mountain villages and distant towns to receive hearing care. One man said he walked three days and then caught a bus for a hearing aid.

"People had walked two and three days to see me. You talk about touching."

Lammert examined 117 people for hearing problems and hygiene, including 37 physically or mentally disabled children associated with the clinic. He fit 57 people with hearing aids.

But, he couldn't help everyone who came to see him. The demand for hearing aids was much greater than the number Lammert took with him to Mexico. Two-hundred people remained on the waiting list to receive care.

Those who were fortunate to receive an aid were only allowed one, though some needed one in both ears.

Lammert also repaired many hearing aids at the clinic and took some home to send off to be fixed at his own expense.

Preparing for his July trip, Lammert recruited another audiologist from Joplin, Mo. so the duo can examine more people. They will also need more hearing aids.

Currently Lammert has only 37 to take with him. However, with help from the Edwardsville community he hopes to meet his goal of serviceing 90 people with hearing aids.

Lammert is willing to pick up any hearing aid device at the owner's convenience. If it means one needy person will be able to enjoy the sounds of life, particularly the children at the clinic, it is well worth any labor for Lammert.

"They are unique people," he said. "They're special kids of God."

Lammert is also accepting monetary donations to purchase reconditioned hearing aids at $49 per device. If he does not receive 90 hearing aids through donations, he will purchase the difference out of his own pocket.

For more information on Lammert's mission or to make a hearing aid or monetary donation, contact Lammert at 656-6570 before July 1.

©Edwardsville Intelligencer 2003