The Lamon family has been very involved with LEAP for years with three generations of support spanning across our Mission and Landmark programs. Last year, we introduced you to Jane Lamon, who served as Host Mom for beloved Landmark recipient Li Ying, as well as to her son Matt and daughter-in-law Abby. Today, we’re sharing the story of Chris (Jane’s husband) and their daughter Emma in a reflection piece on their volunteer efforts on our most recent surgical mission to Haiti.
Your family has been involved with LEAP for a number of years. What keeps you involved and active?
Chris: Doug Lamon (my dad), our families, and our Landmark organization have supported LEAP over the years. My dad partnered with Craig Hobar to help develop the Landmark Program within LEAP, and it is our desire to be able to take this support to a new level over time.
At the core of LEAP is this steadfast drive to overcome obstacles and provide efficient and caring service based on acceptance, compassion, love, and respect. Through example, this has been inspired by LEAP’s founder and carried forward by the LEAP family of volunteers and staff.
Being a part of this provides a sense of purpose, mental and spiritual health, and happiness. The opportunity to experience this is not so much a responsibility but a privilege.
It also seems like going on a LEAP trip is a bit of a rite of passage for the Lamon kids–is that a fair statement?
Chris: My dad has experienced trips. He encouraged me to go on a trip. And our children have been on a trip with either Jane or myself and on their own.
The “rite of passage” is not so much the leaving of one group for another – but perhaps it is more about leaving one perspective behind forever for another perspective that provides a much broader understanding of purpose, responsibility, care, giving, and love.
What was it like going on a father/daughter trip to Haiti?
Chris: This is, by far, the best quality time I could have with Emma. We get to experience together the positive impacts of participating in the many eye-opening learnings that are part of being on a mission trip.
Emma: It was an amazing experience having the opportunity to go to Haiti with my dad. We shared a lot of experiences and learned new things together. We created a lot of memories that I will forever hold in my heart.
What was your experience like in Haiti?
Chris: Working in a busy city in one of the poorest countries in the world leaves a big impression. It is overwhelming how much there is to do and the fact that the economic fundamentals are so broken. But the mission was not to lament those issues but to lift people up and make a positive, selfless impact. That is what I saw the team do extremely well.
What touched my heart is the concern and level of care the team demonstrated and the hope and level of trust the people demonstrated who were handing over their loved ones to the support and surgical teams.
Emma: I knew coming into the trip about the poverty in Haiti. It is one thing to know and another thing to see and experience. I knew about the earthquake, but seeing how it affects people in their day-to-day life is hard to explain.
I also found the people there to be uplifting and spirited. They are thankful for what they have. To see people be so cheerful and happy in these conditions was hard to understand and made me very thankful for my health and family.
The kids in Haiti are very strong, and I was impressed with their willingness to let us help improve their life. The Haitian people touched my heart. They are the most thankful people I have ever met. Being able to talk to them and see what they have overcome in their life and how thankful they are for LEAP touched my heart. LEAP has and continues to change many lives.
And though I was there to help change a life, mine was in turn changed dramatically.
What is something from this experience that you will always remember?
Emma: I will always remember the feeling of having the opportunity to scrub into a surgery and help really impact a person’s life for the better. All I could think while in the surgery was how this will impact their life forever. It was the best feeling.
I will also remember the kids and volunteers that I met on that trip. To hear their stories of how they have lived and what has occurred in their life will be with me forever.
Is there anything else you want to say or share about your experience or what you think about LEAP?
Chris: The stamina of the entire team is really something.
Emma: LEAP has changed many, many lives. What I don’t think some people understand is that having the opportunity to go on a LEAP trip will change their life forever. I have learned so much in the short 4 days of being there and the experiences I experienced will stick with me for my life.
Getting to share this with my dad and the LEAP team was a great experience, for which I am very grateful.