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Press Releases 2010

Faces of America - February 2010

February 15, 2010
man with child in a wheelchair

Tom McCormack

In recognition of exceptionally generous U.S. citizens who, through their commitment and goodwill, have made a significant contribution to the well being of the men, women and children of Panama, the U.S. Embassy in Panama established FACES OF AMERICA, a regular feature on the U.S. Embassy web page. These Faces of America demonstrate the highest ideals of U.S. fraternity and philanthropy.

Tom McCormack lives by his foundation’s mission, “Helping others, one person at a time…”.  In 1994, Tom began working in Chiriqui, the westernmost province of Panama, through the United States Government Farmer to Farmer Program, using his expertise as a Master Beekeeper to assist Panamanian beekeepers in becoming more productive.  Having found the experience rewarding, he returned for the next 5 years to work in the same program.  After the program ended, Tom continued to work on his own, often coordinating his workshops with local Peace Corps Volunteers; he remains committed to going anywhere in Panama to work with Peace Corps volunteers. 

While working throughout Panama, Tom saw the need in the less fortunate areas of western Panama and was inspired to coordinate donation efforts with a team of individuals in the United States.  His initial donations focused on children’s clothing, and gradually expanded to other populations based on his own experience.  After meeting survivors of breast cancer who did not  have the resources to obtain breast prostheses or wigs, he worked with U.S. based volunteers to coordinate the donation of hundreds of prostheses and wigs.  From there the project grew into the collection of wheelchairs, crutches, hospital beds, disposable medical supplies, bicycles, and basic household items. 

Over the past 16 years Tom McCormack has worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life of hard-working individuals in Panama.  More often than not, Tom gets to know the recipients of his donations, and will try to meet the needs of individuals, improving their quality of life, which extends to their families and surrounding communities.  By getting to know the needs of individual and communities, Tom is able to utilize donations in a more strategic way, and no doubt the donations become more meaningful for each recipient!