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May 2014 People: Hidden Heroes/John Jones
Team building can take many shapes and sizes, from motivational speakers and trust exercises to more hands-on experiences like cooking or canoeing. Some companies take it even further, like Santa Rosa’s Linkenheimer LLP CPAs & Advisors.
In January this year, Managing Partner John Jones led two teams of Linkenheimer-ians to the Rio San Juan region of Nicaragua, where the groups combined to spend a week delivering eye exams and prescription eyeglasses to the community. It’s a mission Jones has long been involved with, through his membership in Santa Rosa Sunrise Rotary.
Seven years ago, after making a number of trips to third world countries across the globe with Santa Rosa optometrist Les Shipley, Jones trained to use an instrument called an auto refractor and determine needed prescriptions; now he conducts eye exams in the field. Jones estimates that, since 2007, he’s examined upward of 12,000 people. On this trip, the Linkenheimer volunteers examined nearly 900 patients, and 765 pairs of prescription glasses and 524 pairs of sunglasses (which help prevent cataracts due to daily sun exposure) were dispensed.
In addition to his biannual eye clinic trips (since 2008, work has been concentrated in Nicaragua), Jones is actively involved in Sunrise Rotary’s efforts to build, equip and staff a small surgery center in the village of Sabalos in the Rio San Juan region. Once completed, it will serve the area’s 30,000 people with advanced diagnostics and surgeries for conditions including cataracts, cleft palates, c-sections and appendectomies. Efforts began in 2010 and, as of March 2014, Jones says, “It looks very promising.” He hopes to have the center established before 2015.
Asked how these efforts have affected his co-workers, Jones smiles. “It’s a great experience,” he says. “Through this, we all get a taste for what it’s like to help those who can only pay you back with a smile, a hug and a thank you."


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