Austin Smiles volunteers call ourselves a family, but in many cases that is literally true. Husbands and wives regularly serve together, and volunteers frequently bring a child, niece, or nephew along. On this trip we have two sets of sisters.
In a family of 5 children, the 3 girls all became nurses later in life. Ann Perry of Austin has been on 3 previous Smiles trips, and she convinced her sisters Jeanne King from Denver and Elaine Cody from Phoenix to come along this year. It is a rare opportunity for them to get to spend a week together, so they are enjoying the chance to talk like sisters do, and share their nursing talents with the children of El Salvador.
Twins Jennifer and Kim Zachary grew up together in Taylor, Texas. They refused to continue dressing alike at age 6, but did everything else together. They attended nursing school at the University of Texas, and today practice together at Dell Children’s. This is their second Smiles trip together. Their paths will diverge soon, as both will be entering graduate school; Jennifer to be a family medicine nurse practitioner, and Kim to be a nurse educator, but they plan to continue working with Smiles. The trips are an opportunity to return to the basics of nursing for them, relying on their observations instead of so many monitors, caring for kids with simple supplies and equipment. Their mom is a nurse too, and they are working on getting her to come on an Austin Smiles trip someday.