Academic Affairs • 423.652.4737
Admissions • 423.652.4861 • email@example.com
Alumni • 423.652.4864 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Business Office • 423-652-4156 • email@example.com
Career Success Center • 423.652.4865 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Chaplain • 423-652-4708 • email@example.com
Counseling Center • 423.652.4742 • CounselingCenter@king.edu
Disability Services • 423.652.4303
Financial Aid • 423.652.4725 • firstname.lastname@example.org
IT Help Desk • 423.652.6019 • email@example.com
Libraries • 423.652.4716 • firstname.lastname@example.org
President's Office • 423.652.4784 • email@example.com
Security • 423.652.4333 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Student Affairs • 423.652.4740
Weather & Emergency Information • 423.652.6446
BRISTOL, Tenn., March 3, 2014 – Danville, Va., native Summer Olinger is currently
studying for her Master of Science in Nursing at King University specializing as a
Family Nurse Practitioner. This past summer 2013, she put her nursing skills to use
during a medical mission trip in Haiti.
During a conversation with a friend on Facebook, Olinger discovered a lady from her
hometown, Vanessa Folkes, took medical mission trips to Haiti at least once a year.
Olinger was immediately intrigued. “Our mutual friend put us in contact with one another.
The first time I met Vanessa was in the Atlanta airport prior to boarding for Haiti.
She brought with her three additional friends, two of which were licensed nurse practitioners
and one who was a nurse practitioner student like me.” Folkes had been to Haiti on
medical mission trips at least 12 times previously through an organization called
Haiti Kidz Foundation whose goal is to provide medical care to the people of Haiti.
Olinger had only been on one medical mission trip to Mexico prior to this trip to
Haiti. “I have been on several Habitat for Humanity trips. I’ve had the privilege
to travel quite a bit. Argentina was the first country in which I had seen people
who lived in such severe poverty. It really struck me. We live in a fairly sheltered
world here [in the U.S.]. While the poverty was shocking in Argentina, it was nothing
compared to that of Haiti. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.”
On Jan. 12, 2010, a catastrophic earthquake hit Haiti, killing more than 200,000 people
and leaving some 1.5 million homeless.
“We landed in Port-au-Prince, where much of the relief efforts have been channeled.
We then drove about three and one-half hours to a place called Hinche, a much more
rural area where the resources are scarce. We stayed in a house there called Midwives
for Haiti. While there, we performed family practice for those in need. We would also
drive out each day to area villages with a translator. There were five of us with
five translators who spoke French and Cajun, a dialect of French. As we drove into
the villages, the people were there to greet us singing songs of blessings.”
In addition to visiting area villages, the mission group visited both a boys and girls
orphanage as well as a feeding center. “The feeding center was a place where people
took their children they were no longer able to feed. The center is run by nuns who
take care of the children’s basic needs. But, there are not enough nuns to hug and
kiss and love on all the babies. While the families have visitation, it is basically
a case where families are saying ‘I can no longer feed my children. I give them to
you.’ Medical care aside, visiting the children of the feeding center was the most
important thing I did. Something about those children just melts you.”
When the trip was over, Olinger came to realize several things. “I first asked myself,
how much stuff do we really need? I have far more than I am ever going to need. Second,
a lot of the people in Haiti seemed much happier than the people at home I come in
contact with on a daily basis who don’t even know what real problems are. We spend
so much time stressing about trivial things when there are people who do not have
enough food to eat.”
Although her mission during this trip was to tend to medical needs, Olinger said anyone
can make a difference. “The people of Haiti just need people who are willing to say
I care about what happens to you. That, to me, anybody can do.”
Despite the challenges of the trip, Olinger commented on the sheer beauty of the country.
“Haiti is a beautiful country. It is very mountainous and tropical.”
She added, “I can’t wait to go back! I am forever changed. It is not our differences
that are remarkable; it is our similarities. We really are not that different. We
are the same in so many ways. It is just so cathartic to see how strong people can
be. I definitely plan to go back. You really can’t go through an experience like this
one without being changed forever.”
Olinger received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Radford University in 2004.
In 2011, Olinger received certifications in wound care, ostomy care, and foot care
from Emory University. Prior to entering King’s MSN program, Olinger served as a nurse
for almost 10 years working in the emergency room and cardiovascular intensive care.
Olinger will graduate from King with her Master of Science in Nursing specializing
as a Family Nurse Practitioner in May 2014.
Summer Olinger, along with her husband, plans to return to Haiti on future medical
King University is a Presbyterian, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King
College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees
and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences,
pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration,
education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and
travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and
a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King
University, visit www.king.edu. King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of
any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University
is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia. For more information, contact
the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road,
Richlands, VA 24641.