What does Educational Outfitters in Harker Heights do when the items on their shelves become outdated, don’t meet Killeen ISD’s changing standards or they have excess teaching related materials that are sitting in a storage room?
If you visit with Cindy Schoel, the co-owner of the business and her husband, Randy, you learn quickly that they are not only about providing high-quality educational supplies for educators in the local area, but they reach out to schools across the nation and the world.
The Schoels have been lending a hand for a couple of years, with their most significant contribution to date being to the Joplin, Missouri, School System following the massive tornado that struck Joplin on May 22, 2011. Joplin High School, along with two elementary schools and a middle school, were destroyed.
Educational Outfitters is embarking on one of the business’ largest donations of school supplies ever to the country of Belize through the Grateful Samaritan program. This is the second time they have donated items to Grateful Samaritan.
Cindy Schoel told the Herald that the paper, flash cards, decorative outlines for bulletin boards, art supplies, games and more equals to about $4,000 worth of education materials that will be used in the schools of Belize.
Belize, formerly the British Honduras, is an independent country on the eastern coast of Central America and is bordered on the north by Mexico, on the south and west by Guatemala, and on the east by the Caribbean Sea.
Todd Perrin, current president of Grateful Samaritan, practiced as a general dentist in Killeen for 19 years, and told the Herald he was interested in mission dental work and went on trips while he was in dental school.
“We went to Guatemala, Mexico and border cities in Mexico,” he said. “My practice became so busy here that I had to drop out for a period of time but my passion was to get back to Central America. That’s when I sold my dental practice here and went to work for Grateful Samaritan.”
Perrin said, “When we first got there, we were in villages and were limited to extracting teeth. To do preventive kinds of things and fillings you need all kinds of equipment.
“We came back and decided to create a mobile clinic that we can drive out to a village and get our power from a nearby school.”
Other organizations have joined Educational Outfitters in meeting the needs of Grateful Samaritan.
“We are extending our work into the medical field. Metroplex Hospital, through the Killeen-Heights Rotary Club, has donated their 37-foot-long mobile medical clinic. This will give us a mobile dental clinic and mobile medical clinic,” Perrin said.
The medical clinic along with other supplies will leave Killeen on its long journey Friday. Once it’s in the country it will take several months to get it set up and running.
Perrin said, “We work with the Ministry of Health in Belize and they forbid missionary dentist from extracting teeth. They would rather we spend our time in the schools teaching preventative care of teeth.”
Schoel said she doesn’t remember much about how she got interested in this project other than Perrin was her personal dentist for several years. “Maybe we struck up a conversation about it during one of my appointments,” she said.
“The relationship between our store and Grateful Samaritan has been a perfect match. I need a place where these things can go and be useful to someone and I realize that the answer is just a phone call away to Todd Perrin,” Schoel said.