Dr. Jerold Beeve and his wife Dorothy, residents of La Cañada and founders of the Beeve Foundation for World Eye and Health Care, Inc., each were awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor sponsored by the National Ethnic Coalition (NECO). Only 100 of these medals are given each year and it is extremely rare for a couple to each be recognized.
Past medalists include six United States presidents as well as Nobel Prize winners and leaders of industry, education, the arts, sports and government.
Both the United States House of Representatives and Senate have ofﬁcially recognized the Ellis Island Medals of Honor. Each year’s recipients are read into the Congressional Record. The impressive ceremony takes place each May on Ellis Island and includes all branches of the U S. Armed Forces, a gala dinner in the historic Great Hall, and a majestic ﬁreworks display that illuminates the Statue of Liberty.
The Beeves’ recognition evolved from a vacation.
While visiting Fiji in celebration of their twenty-ﬁfth wedding anniversary, Dr. Beeve, M. D., F.A.C.S. and Dorothy, R.N., observed a large portion of Fiji’s population suffering from severe eye disorders. The majority of Fijians are without access to medical care or the ﬁnancial means to afford costly procedures. Inspired to affect change, the Beeves created the Foundation whose members have since made 19 trips to the Fiji Islands.
The global, all-volunteer medical team is made up of more than 22 members. Surgeons, doctors, nurses, and technicians from Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and the United States have successfully helped more than 3% of Fiji’s population. This includes 25,213 complete eye exams and the distribution of 23,360 pairs of glasses. A total of 2,115 surgeries have been performed including 1,188 cataract surgeries with intraocular lens implants, 463 YAG laser surgeries, 297 pterygium surgeries, 35 corneal transplants, 90 miscellaneous surgeries, and 38 strabismus (children with crossed eyes) surgeries. Without the assistance of the Beeve Foundation medical teams, most of the patients receiving surgical procedures would be dependent upon others to care for them and would be unable to support themselves or their families.
Details regarding the Beeve Foundation are available at its website www.ﬁjiforsight.org.