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Brian’s Story

Feb 14, 2014

Pharmacist finds Guatemala life-changing

Oliveros, Guatemala – Racine native Brian Jensen learned a lesson that has changed him forever.

Life’s most important teaching came from one of his instructors in pharmacy school, but it was learned long after Brian had successfully become a pharmacist and had his own business.

His professor and friend, Curt Johnson, was retired and served on a volunteer committee with Brian. He traveled the world by joining humanitarian missions and said to his former student, “I want you to be my student again.” He invited Brian to join him on a mission trip.

They spent months planning the trip, when Curt got sick and the trip had to be cancelled. Meanwhile, Brian, a Rotarian in Two Rivers, heard about the Guatemala Medical Resources Partnership, a medical mission sponsored by about a half-dozen Rotary clubs in Wisconsin.

“They could use someone like me,” he thought, as he learned about the need for medical professionals to increase the mission’s impact.

As Brian discussed the mission with his teacher, they agreed that the GMRP trip would be the project they could do together. Just days before the mission, Brian’s mentor died.

Brian left anyway, determined to learn what his professor had intended to teach.

“This was so outside my norm,” he said. “I’m a control freak. I lead a very structured life, and these days are chaos and unpredictable,” he said.

“But they’re so necessary to help me grow,” he added.

Together with fellow pharmacist, Chuck Strohbach, Brian is running the pharmacy at the GMRP. He has seen the beauty of the people, the poverty and their harsh lives up close. This has expanded what he has come to know about human spirit.

“There is not a day that goes by when I return home when I don’t think about this place,” he said. “It began as something I should do. Now, it is part of who I am.”

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