Gary Morsch, M.D., M.P.H. is the recipient of Olivet’s 2012 Reed Leadership Award. A man of action and a servant of Jesus Christ, Dr. Morsch leads a ministry with international impact, has served in clinics and hospitals around the world, and once led a motorcycle ride from the southern tip of South America to Kansas City to raise $500,000 for charity.
“We recognize Dr. Morsch today for his life of service and mobilization of people to make a difference in our world,” said Dr. John C. Bowling, University president, as he presented the award. “Leaders are individuals who have a bias for action, and Dr. Morsch certainly exemplifies that.”
Olivet’s Reed Leadership Award and the Reed Institute for Advanced Study of Leadership were established by Dr. Harold W. Reed, who was president of the University from 1949 to 1975.
Dr. Morsch’s career as a physician and his volunteer medical missions service led him to establish two successful nonprofit organizations:
• Heart to Heart International
, one of the largest volunteer relief organizations in the world and the third most efficient charity in the United States. This medical relief organization that stages airlifts of medicines and medical supplies to needy countries, responds to disasters, and organizes volunteer medical teams who work throughout the world.
• Docs Who Care
, providing health care services in rural areas of the United States. Doctors volunteer to work in community hospitals on a job-sharing basis, with the time and flexibility to make a difference in the world through their service.
Speaking in Olivet’s morning chapel service on October 31, Dr. Morsch shared with students, faculty and staff about meeting Mother Teresa in 1987 in Calcutta, India, and working with her during the last 10 years of her life. “When I arrived in Calcutta, the first assignment Mother Teresa gave me was to shovel garbage into buckets, and then carry the buckets to a dump site,” he said. In completing that task, he learned the truth of one of her teachings: “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”
Dr. Morsch told about the results of a challenge he gave to his Rotary Club in Olathe, Kan., in 1991. “I told them that we needed to love our enemies and that we should go to Moscow, Russia, to do that,” he said. Ultimately, they collected donations of 90 tons of medicines to benefit the people in a country that was on the verge of collapse. The U.S. Air Force provided a military cargo plane to transport the donations. That was the beginning of Heart to Heart International.
“God has been talking to be about how to bring leadership and service together,” said Taylor Haymes, a senior elementary education major from Wentzville, Mo. “Dr. Morsch did that for me in his presentation.”
“Seeing a leader put his ideas into action inspires me to go and fulfill my ideas,” said Alex Buchmann, a freshman student from Denver, Colo.