Eleven years ago Dick Rutgers went to Guatemala on a week and a half wheelchair distribution and mission trip. To this day, he’s never left.
He spends most of his days educating youth throughout Guatemala, now sponsoring the schooling of more than 70 kids. In his free time, he builds wheelchairs for people in the country. When his workday is done, he heads home, where he finds 12 to 15 kids waiting for dinner every single night.
Whether helping a disabled child or finding a school for someone who’s never received an education, for Dick Rutgers there really is no normal day. On September 13th he came across a malnourished 6-year-old at a wheelchair distribution named Jessica. He had to tell her mother that he needed to take her to get her well.
“I’m very, very grateful because her mama, when I told her about it, she said let’s go. She was willing to go,” Rutgers said.
But this feeling devastates Rutgers. “I can’t describe it,” Rutgers said, “I broke, like I do with everyone of these kids. You let it break your heart, you shed a few tears, then you get back to work, and you do something about it.”
And for Rutgers, that’s a battle that never ends. “There are so many starving kids, there are so many families without homes, so terribly many,” Rutgers said. “Yeah, we can’t reach them all. I mean, here too. I’ll take her in and I’ll probably pass 100 homes on the way where there are other starving kids, just going to take her home. But we can help that one, so that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Rutgers is chronicling his time with Jessica and other children in need in Guatemala in his own blog. You can visit it at blogs.dickrutgers.com.
Meet the others who are part of the solution: