For this dentist, humanitarian work in the Philippines is not what he would consider pulling teeth – it’s a blessing.

Patrick Rooney (’71) spent a month this summer aboard the USNS Mercy, a part of Pacific Partnership 2016. With his experience as a Navy hospital
corpsman during the Vietnam era, Rooney jumped at the chance to serve when the American Dental Association put out the call for volunteers.

160702-N-BB534-004 LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines (July 2, 2016) Hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) sits anchored off the coast of Legazpi, Philippines, with Mount Mayon in the distance during its second stop of Pacific Partnership 2016. Pacific Partnership is visiting the Philippines for the seventh time since its first visit in 2006. Partner nations are working side-by-side with local military and non-government organizations to conduct cooperative health engagements, community relation events and subject matter expert exchanges to better prepare for a natural disaster or crisis. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Elizabeth Merriam/Released)

Hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) sits anchored off the coast of Legazpi, Philippines, with Mount Mayon in the distance during its second stop of Pacific Partnership 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Elizabeth Merriam/Released)

As one of only five dentists selected, Rooney served in a contingent of sailors, Marines and civilians whose goal was to provide medical care to impoverished west Pacific countries and also educate local doctors on health care practices. Rooney commented, “Sometimes the military can project a certain intimidating air, but this is a way to show that there’s a humanitarian side.”

After returning home, Rooney shared that “it was a profound experience to see the good our country does and the positive image we present around the
world on a regular basis.”

Dr. Rooney is second from the right in the middle row (not in uniform)

Dr. Rooney is second from the right in the middle row (not in uniform)

 

Read about another veteran – Fr. John McBride, S.J., ’49 – who was honored for his service in the Korean War. Story here.

 

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