Lincoln South Rotary Club recently donated used eye glasses to Dr. Kim Baxter for an eye clinic in Kenya.
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Like many Rotary Club members, Dr. Kim Baxter joined Rotary to become more involved in the community. He would soon find that, as an optometrist, he could provide much-needed service to communities across the globe that needed access to eye care.
He reached out to Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH) and learned of a need for volunteers to help with eye care clinics in Kenya.
Baxter shared his story with Lincoln South Rotary Club members, who learned how he capitalized on the power of Rotary connections to provide volunteers, funds and passion to fulfill dreams.
Eye care is available in Kenya but, for many, it is not affordable.
“In the majority of cases, none of these people have ever had an opportunity to have an eye exam and have not had access to glasses, even simple reading glasses,” Baxter said.
The clinics rely on donated eyeglasses. They don’t have the equipment and supplies that America has.
“The equipment we use for eye care missions is designed to give a quick, objective estimate of a person’s eyeglass correction,” Baxter said. “We don’t worry about the prescription being perfect, since we will rarely be able to provide donated eyeglasses that are specific for their correction.”
The recipients are grateful for any help. Baxter shared a story of a father and son who walked seven hours to participate in the clinic. The father had a bad astigmatism and feared his son had it as well. When he arrived at the clinic, the father said, “I am not here for me. I don’t care if I get glasses, but please help my son.” At the end of the visit, they were able to fit both father and son with glasses.

Baxter has participated with 10 different eye clinic teams. He estimated an average of 1,000 people served with each clinic, meaning that they have served over 10,000 people through these volunteer clinics.

Baxter’s son, Craig, traveled along on some of the eye clinic trips. He became passionate about the needs and implored his father, “Dad, we need to come back to this place. These people really need us.” Unfortunately, Craig has passed away. But Kim is determined to carry out his desire to help.

In Baxter’s words, “Our son Craig was a valuable member of the eyecare mission team when we first visited that remote village of Shikunga in western Kenya 10 years ago. Craig was very engaged with the team, and he fell in love with the people there who we strived to serve. Now that Craig has passed from this life, his words remain a vivid memory and perpetually motivate me toward continuing on with the work that Craig wanted us to do there in Kenya.”
Through Rotary connections, Baxter has been able to build teams across the United States and internationally, and assemble funds and other donations to fulfill Craig’s dream.

The result – a new medical clinic being built in the remote rural village of Shikunga, near the city of Kakamega in western Kenya. The funding for this project has come from several Nebraska Rotary clubs along with individual donations. Once the clinic building is completed and fully equipped (within the next two to three years), there will be medical missionary teams from the United States rotating to provide a wide range of services, including eye care, as well as dental, maternal, pediatric and general medicine services.

The village leaders have named the clinic the “Craig Memorial Rotary Clinic” in honor of the late Craig Baxter.
Hearing of the clinics and the efforts of these volunteer teams, Lincoln South Rotary Club President DeEtta Vrana asked club members to donate eyeglasses to give to Baxter for his next clinic. They collected a total of 94 pairs of glasses for the team to take on its next clinic mission trip.
Vrana said that when she presented the glasses to Baxter, “seeing the pictures that you shared of clinic patients, able to see images and words more clearly, we know that these donated glasses will be of good use during your next clinic.”
This is one way in which Lincoln South Rotary Club has fulfilled the Rotary theme “Serve to Change Lives.”
For information about Lincoln South Rotary Club, visit From, “No challenge is too big for Rotary. For more than 110 years, we’ve bridged cultures and connected continents to champion peace, fight illiteracy and poverty, promote clean water and sanitation, and fight disease.”