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#1 Yervant1


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Posted 27 November 2014 - 11:45 AM


USA Today
Nov 26 2014

By: Madison Mills

As the holiday season approaches, many students are splitting time
between preparing for finals and preparing to gain the freshman
15 during Thanksgiving dinner. But Tomik Vertanous, a junior at
the University of Southern California, is devoting his holiday to
organizing mass shipments of medical supplies from the United States
to rural villages in Armenia.

Vertanous -- who is studying political science and healthcare
administration -- is the founder of Hyer United, a non-profit
organization made up of all college students. The organization ships
expired medical supplies to Armenia where these medical items are
often sparse or nonexistent.

"Genocide in Armenia crippled them...what drove my desire [to get
involved] was seeing the situation that people lived in, how humble
they were, and learning the amount of work that went into liberalizing
that piece of land and seeing how its fallen apart," he says.

These materials have to be shipped out just before the height of winter
hits, or else the roads in Armenia will be too icy for shipment trucks
to drive on.

"We're trying to teach them that through these supplies they need to
rebuild the area so they can pay for these supplies on their own one
day," Vertanous says, recalling his hope for his homeland to rebuild
its economy.

Sriram Dasu, an associate professor and healthcare expert, says that
medical materials deemed expired in the United States are often still
usable, especially in nations without access to these supplies.

"There is nothing available in some of these towns...In the absence
of anything, something that has gone just beyond the expiration date
is perfectly fine," says Dasu.

He also explains that most hospitals in the United States have a
surplus of materials because it is very hard to gauge how many people
will come in and need certain items within a given time period.

"It's in the interest of the patient," says Dasu. "When you show up
at the hospital, the last thing you want to be told is that they're
out of what you need."

Vertanous says rural villages are so far from hospitals that these
supplies can be used to keep people alive during the long journey to
urban areas where they can be treated at medical facilities.

"One kid broke his head, and rather than bleeding out the doctors had
the equipment to stop the bleeding. So if it wasn't for the supplies
we sent, he would have bled out," says Vertanous.

But Hyer United doesn't just ship medical supplies.

"We send out gifts a few times a year to the little kids...and the
joy in these kids faces...they're really happy and thankful and its
really nice to see that from someone who has nothing," says Vertanous.

Vertanous hopes to inspire others in the United States to focus on
how they can give those struggling to survive in other countries the
gift of life this holiday season.

"People always need help, and people always could help," he says. "You
gain momentum and a sense of worth in yourself. Because everyone has
an extra five bucks and that goes a long way."


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