InterVol like to keep their mission simple, to connect the world’s neediest to materials, people and opportunities. The volunteers at InterVol go forth with the humanitarian spirit on which they were founded whether they are onsite sorting unused medical supplies or halfway around the world on a medical mission trip.
InterVol was founded over two decades ago by Dr. Ralph Pennino, Chief of Surgery at Rochester General Hospital and alumni of Notre Dame Class of 1975. InterVol’s charity work is based on the premise that unused, functional medical supplies and equipment that are being disposed of in the US to make way for new technology are desperately needed in other parts of the world.
The idea for InterVol came to Ralph over two decades ago, when he was doing volunteer work with AmeriCares in Siberia, Russia. On that that trip, he realized that what they needed in Siberia, was something we throw away every day in the United States; medical supplies and equipment that was still functioning, but technologically dated by our standards. Ralph graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1975 and received his M.D. degree from Georgetown University in 1979. He is board certified in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and has a Certificate of Added Qualifications in Hand Surgery. Since InterVol’s inception in 1989, Ralph has coordinated medical missions in Haiti, Belize, Somalia, Sarajevo, Belize and the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
In addition to recycling unused medical supplies and equipment, co-founder Dr. Timothy O’Connor, and Dr. Pennino came up with the concept of trying to put a group together locally and go with the people they worked with every day, as well as from the community. That evolved into InterVol’s Volunteer Medical Professionals program, which includes doctors, nurses and allied medical personnel volunteering their services.
InterVol is also committed to improving general health in the communities in which it serves. One example of this is the Home of Hope Orphanage, where InterVol was able to provide the children beds, shelter and funding for education to help Haiti become sustainable in the long term. In conjunction with these programs, InterVol provides education through Friends Across Borders (FAB) which strives to enhance the lives of children by teaching through doing; providing an opportunity for civic engagement and service learning. InterVol has been instrumental in working with Notre Dame’s Haiti Program and was also inspired by the late, great Reverend Theodore M. Hesburgh.
This year, Daniel Palmier, businessman and philanthropist ran the Boston Marathon to benefit InterVol in honor of the passing of Notre Dame’s late president, Emeritus Reverend Theodore M. Hesburgh. The Palmier Foundation matched all funds raised by 100%. Daniel Palmier maintains an active lifestyle and encourages his team at UC Funds +to do the same. He ran the 2014 Boston Marathon in support of the One Fund Boston for the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing victims and the Lieutenant Walsh – Firefighter Memorial Funds. He also ran the Boston Marathon in 1994 and 1996, raising funds for the American Liver Foundation.