NASHVILLE, Tenn., and HARBEL, Liberia, West Africa (January 31, 2018) – Firestone Natural Rubber Company’s Liberian operation, Firestone Liberia, recently welcomed a team of medical professionals from Children’s Surgery International (CSI) to perform surgeries at no cost on some of West Africa’s most needy children. This is the seventh CSI Mission hosted by Firestone Liberia.
“This mission has become a significant source of help and comfort for the people of Liberia and greater West Africa,” said Dr. Lyndon G. Mabande, the medical director of Firestone Health Services. “When they first arrived at Firestone Liberia in 2010, the medical professionals of CSI saw first-hand the great need in this part of the world. The work they have done over the past seven missions has changed the lives of countless Liberians.”
The joint, five-day mission underscores Bridgestone Americas, the parent company of Firestone Liberia, newly unveiled commitment to corporate social responsibility, Our Way to Serve, through the company’s global commitment to people and healthy communities. Families and patients from all across the country traveled hours – some of them days – to receive the free surgeries at Firestone’s Medical Center at Duside to treat a range of health conditions, including cleft lips and palates, hernias and a variety of urological conditions. Since the first mission in 2010, nearly 800 children and some adults have benefitted from this surgical mission at Firestone to date.
“We are thrilled to be able to work with CSI to offer life-saving care to the children of Liberia and West Africa,” said Ed Garcia, president and managing director of Firestone Liberia. “The CSI team represents some of the greatest medical talent in the world, and I admire their dedication to this cause. Our ongoing partnership in this mission will have a lasting impact in Liberia.”
The CSI professionals, including doctors, surgeons, nurses and other medical and non-medical volunteers, worked together with the Firestone Medical Center staff to perform 101 surgeries during this year’s mission in Liberia. Countless other Firestone Liberia employees also played a role in the mission, assisting with the logistics of transporting, housing and feeding patients and their family members. Prior to the start of the mission, members of the CSI team worked together with Firestone Liberia to deworm more than 4,000 children and adults in the local communities surrounding Firestone Liberia.
“We feel so welcomed when we come here,” said Lora Koppel, RN – CSI board member and clinical lead for the Liberia mission. “Our relationship with Firestone is truly a partnership – the Firestone Medical Center in Liberia is a fantastic facility for this mission, and the staff here is just amazing. That allows our team to focus on performing vital surgeries, providing valuable training and spending more time helping those in need.”
Over the course of the five-day mission, CSI team members also provided 22 hours of surgical, first aid, well-care, and hands-on bedside training to the medical professionals at Firestone’s Medical Center. CSI’s goal is sustainability to provide education and training to local medical professionals so children and families can access life-saving care even after the mission is complete.
The Firestone Medical Center in Liberia offers a full range of health care services including general surgery, prenatal programs and vaccinations. The hospital is designed to support 300 beds and includes three operating theaters, a laboratory and a pharmacy. Firestone Liberia partners with UNICEF and the Liberian Ministry of Health to store and administer vaccines that help protect Liberians from a range of diseases. The company provides free health care to its employees and their dependents. Health services are also provided to the community at large. During the Ebola crisis of 2014, Firestone was in the front lines of the fight against the Ebola virus. Firestone was widely recognized internationally and by the CDC for its successful intervention measures and treatment of Ebola in its vast operations and surrounding communities.
About Firestone Natural Rubber Company, LLC:
Firestone Natural Rubber Company, LLC traces its origins back to 1926 when The Firestone Tire & Rubber Company first established a natural rubber production facility in Liberia, West Africa. The company operates a 118,000-acre rubber growing and processing facility, employing approximately 7,000 teammates who harvest and process natural rubber. After processing, the natural rubber is shipped to Bridgestone Americas’ tire plants in North America for the manufacture of tires. Firestone Natural Rubber Company, LLC is a subsidiary of Bridgestone Americas, Inc.