Rufty Philanthropy: Nicholson has visions on Africa

Philanthropy plays a big role in what we do here at Rufty Homes. Our staff is encouraged to embark on mission trips each year as part of our service to the community. After serving in Guyana last year and India the year prior, our own globetrotting CFO Kelly Nicholson recently returned from a mission to Africa.

Kelly's six-person group was led by Dr. Greg Waller and his wife Linda – both of whom frequently coordinate medical and vision trips around the world with Truth for Today Medical Missions. They traversed across the Atlantic to conduct vision clinics and fit glasses for needy patients.

This time, the mission location was Kenya. Volunteers flew into Nairobi and drove four hours northwest to Nakuru, the fourth largest urban population in Kenya.

Nakuru hugs the Great Rift Valley and is a region known for small-scale agriculture, manufacturing and tourism. Farming includes: maize, wheat, beans, peas, cabbages, tomatoes, kales and carrots. Yet, visitors are just as likely to find flower farms weaved into natural landscapes, such as Lake Nakuru and Menengai craters, two of the area's unique travel destinations.

According to Kelly, vision clinics were held each day during the five-day mission. "These clinics provided both the young and old opportunities to see an eye doctor and to receive prescription glasses," said Kelly. "Opportunities that most of the local residents would not otherwise have."

Her role in the screening clinics was to help administer the eye chart test, which was similar to what we experience in our local eye care facility. All told, more than 600 patients were tested and many were provided with appropriate prescription eyewear and the gift of renewed vision.

Kelly shared the humbling story of an 18-year-old girl who visited Dr. Waller with seriously compromised vision. Her vision so poor she was unable to distinguish the faces of people that were standing right in front of her.

After an eye examination she was fit with her first ever pair of glasses, supplied by the Lions Club.

"With what had to be an unusual feeling of somewhat foreign glasses now resting on her face, her demeanor instantly changed," exclaimed Kelly. "When she experienced the true capabilities of sight, for the first time in her life she was able to visualize and distinguish people she had known all her life, even her mother."

It was a very humbling reminder that vision is a gift, shared Kelly. "We can forget that many around the world - and even those here in America - don't have clear vision, or access to corrective lenses."

She acknowledges that having an employer in Jon Rufty, who believes in the importance of mission service, can lead to life-changing experiences.

“Jon encourages us to serve on mission trips as part of our work week,” said Kelly. "Mission work and community service are part of the fine details of life at Rufty Homes."

As a team, we believe in the power of seeing those fine details in our everyday roles on our jobsites. Through trips like Kelly's we are encouraged by the opportunities to serve those who need us most.

Just one way that we bring to life the details that make others' lives better. We’re proud to share Kelly’s story and look forward to the next journey.

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