TROY — Meg Conover has a passion for service and medicine and will combine the two by embarking on a faith-based medical mission aboard a Mercy Ship.
Mercy Ships is a faith-based charity organization that provides free health care on board a ship to those who are in need and do not have access to medicine.
“I have been given the exciting opportunity of serving as the human resources facilitator aboard the Africa Mercy,” she said. “I will be primarily responsible for coordinating other volunteers. I will also serve as a liaison for volunteers between the ship and headquarters in Texas. This includes orienting crew members to the ship, helping them adjust to ship-life, assisting with staffing in my department, and meeting various other ship and crew needs.”
Conover shared how she “kind of stumbled upon Mercy Ships accidentally.”
“I was researching the U.S. Naval Hospital ships and searching to see if there were any civilian positions on either of them. It was through this search that I found Mercy Ships. So, I did some research and knew that it was something that I would love to be a part of,” she said.
Conover will first train for a month in Texas before boarding Africa Mercy. The Africa Mercy ship is an 80-bed floating hospital equipped with five operating rooms, a recovery wing and laboratory technology. The ship will be docked in Senegal, Africa for a year.
She is the daughter of David and Sarah Conover and grew up in the city of Troy and a graduate of Troy Christian Schools in 2014.
Conover shared she has “a passion for people, near and far.”
“I have just always had a love of adventure. I love being outdoors, and I love experiencing new cultures and environments that are different than my own and maybe outside my comfort zone,” she said. “In elementary and high school, I was fortunate enough to have several opportunities to serve, as part of class trips and service projects. Everyone has their own adventure and their own journey. International service is just what best matches my interest and passions. And I am thrilled to have this opportunity to serve and honored to be a part of this amazing organization.”
Conover studied neuroscience as an undergraduate at University of Cincinnati and studied abroad learning about wilderness medicine in northern India, in Sankri, Uttarakhand, in the foothills of the Himalayas. She was part of a group that earned their EMT and wilderness EMT certification through Aerie Backcountry Medicine, based in Montana.
During their time in India, her group went on a two-week trek into the back country where they practiced scenarios involving joint dislocations, hypothermia, elevation sickness, and lacerations.
“We made stretchers out of backpacks, slings out of T-shirts, and femur traction out of ski-poles,” she said. “We learned navigation, survival skills, search and rescue techniques, high angle rope rescue and how to administer first aid to climbers. When we got back from the back country, we spent time in the local hospital and participated in a mobile clinic to a remote village. We also learned leadership skills and how to be a conscientious hiker taking care of our environment for the next hiker. The culture, the scenery, the medicine, the people, the camping — everything was incredible.”
Conover said she was surprised how resilient people are as well as the ingenuity of those who live in poverty.
“The hospital and the mobile clinic were eye opening as we experienced how much could be accomplished with so little technology,” she said. “And the gratefulness of the people we encountered and the joy and love and sense of community is something I will never forget.”
Following her year of service aboard the Mercy Ship, Conover said she plans to enroll in medical school to become a psychiatrist.
Conover continues to seek financial assistance for her year-long mission. If you’d like to donate, visit www.mercyships.org and select Conover’s team account. Those who pledge financial support will receive a monthly newsletter about her experience during her service. To contact her, email her at Conover.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Melanie Yingst at email@example.com
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