Students Prep for Missionary Trip to Dominican Republic 

For more than a decade, Chuck and Cori Hillman have been travelling to the Dominican Republic once a year to help the poor.”Chuck usually works construction and I usually do the medical clinic,” explained Cori Hillman.The Hillmans are tutors at Hermon High School and they often share stories about their missionary work with their students.”We always put our pictures out for the kids to look at and Fritz and Regan have spent years looking at those pictures,” she said.After looking at so many of those photos, Hermon High seniors Regan Graffam and Fritz Marseille realized they wanted to go too.”Ever since I heard about it, I always wanted to help,” said Graffam.Marseille said, “I figured this would be a great way to travel and help people out at the same time because I’ve always wanted to go down and try to make a difference.”Next month, the group of four from Hermon High School, as well as one student from Bangor High and one from Bangor Christian, will spend a week in La Romana. Most of the workers in that city spend long days picking sugar cane for only about $35 a week.”We still see a lot of kids that have severe malnutrition. We see kids that are losing their teeth at age 14, losing permanent teeth because they live on sugar cane because they don’t have food,” said Cori Hillman.Graffam is in the CNA program at United Technologies Center. She already knows that her job will be taking blood pressure. Marseille could be helping out at the clinic or doing construction. “I really want to help do either one actually, wherever I’m needed,” he said.They know the need is great.Hillman said, “Something as simple as tylenol or antibacterial soap can be an important lifesaving measure for these children.”And they know this trip will likely make them look at their lives differently.”We take so much for granted here,” said Graffam.Although they haven’t even left yet, the students are already inspired by this experience. They say this first missionary trip of theirs won’t be their last.Chuck Hillman said, “That’s the beauty of it really, to see them become interested in wanting to help people that are so desperately poor.”The group leaves for the week-long trip on February 23. In the meantime, they’re collecting supplies like aspirin, vitamins and antacids to dispense at medical clinics. They have a donation box set up at the Hermon High School library for anyone who’d like to help.