More than 250 people gathered at Camp Siloam on Saturday evening for the seventh annual Dustin's Heavenly Birthday Celebration and Chili Supper.
The event served as a way to honor the life of Dustin Chamberlain and raise funds for Dustin's Dream, a nonprofit organization that supports international medical missions such as the Heart of Love Clinic in Guatemala City, provides scholarships for local students entering the medical field and partners with other organizations to provide for community needs.
Preliminary figures show that more than $28,000 was raised during the event, which included a chili supper, a pie and dessert auction, and a silent auction, according to Dustin's mother, Deondra Chamberlain. In addition, those who attended the event paid to purchase more than 40 bags of groceries for families living the the settlements in Guatemala City. The groceries will be delivered during mission trips in February and June 2019.
"The Dustin Chamberlain Memorial Foundation would like to thank our friends, family and community for the outpouring of love and support," Deondra said. "We would like to thank Camp Siloam, The Wooden Spoon, Tim Jackson Sound and The Balloon Closet for their partnership and donation of services. Special thanks to Dillon Butler, Dustin's friend and classmate, who has auctioneered for us the past six years, and for all of those who volunteered their services and time to make the event a great success."
Deondra said she is also thankful for her friends Lori Myers and Lori Weir, who spent hours helping to decorate the event venue.
During the fundraiser, Dr. Carl Duncan spoke about his experience providing medical services at the Heart of Love Clinic in Guatemala City during a mission trip last June and Dr. Trent McCord spoke about his experience providing dental services. The entire mission team was also honored.
McCord said that even though people were coming for painful dental procedures they were filled with joy.
"These people are coming in to get a tooth pulled and they are crying because they are so happy," he said. "We had one guy come in and he was so pumped, it was his birthday and he was getting a tooth pulled and he was excited about it. Um, I've never had that happen before and I'll never have that happen again, but just some of these basic needs we were able to provide were liked. It was just kind of cool to see."
The people in the settlement around the clinic live and work in the largest garbage dump in the world, and struggle to fill their most basic needs.
"That struck home for me," McCord said. "Everybody is in a tough situation but there is a ton of joy. In the clinic and even outside and the other places we went, people are happy and joyful. I think there is a lot of joy to be had that maybe it's easy living in an area of abundance, that maybe I take it for granted, and you think, oh I need to have more to be more joyous, but in Guatemala and our trip, (we found) that wasn't the case because we were down there and everyone is so happy and appreciative."
"The thing I came home with was Joy," said Jodi Klassen, who also went on the trip. "It was one of the most outstanding experiences I have ever been through."
During the evening, Deondra and her husband Don Chamberlain also presented the annual Dustin's Dream Champion awards to Tim Jackson and Michael Houston for the contributions they have made to the organization.
Dustin's friends and family founded Dustin's Dream to honor his vision of becoming a missionary doctor. In 2011, Dustin was home for Christmas break from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, when he was killed during a home invasion.
Since the organization was started, it has raised money to build and then expand the Heart of Love Clinic in Guatemala City to a total of three stories and 7,000-square-feet. Dustin's Dream continues to support half of the clinic's operating costs in partnership with Life of Hope Ministry based in Joplin, Mo.
The clinic serves an average of more than 800 people a month and provides general medical care, physical therapy, pediatric therapy and dental services. Dustin's Dream also supports medical scholarships at the Siloam Springs High School and helps provide for local needs through organizations such as Bright Future Siloam Springs, Deondra said.
This year, Dustin's Dream and Life of Hope Ministry are planning to increase their support for the Heart of Love Clinic, Deondra said. Dustin's Dream is also hoping to partner with Life of Hope Ministry to support another ministry in Guatemala City called "Time of Rescue," which works with kids on the street.
Dustin's Dream is especially in need of monthly supporters, Deondra said. For more information about the organization or how to sign up for monthly giving, visit www.dustinsdream.net or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
General News on 12/19/2018
Print Headline: Dustin's Dream celebration a success