Fatality in Honduras accident was a ‘well-respected’ dentist
NEW ALBANY, Miss. (BP)--The community of New Albany, Miss., is mourning the loss of a local dentist, Ron Feather, who was killed July 26 when the brakes failed on the vehicle he was riding in during a mission trip to Honduras.
Feather was part of a group of 20 volunteers from First Baptist Church in New Albany who traveled to the Central American country to provide healthcare, construction help and evangelistic outreach.
At least six other church members and several volunteers from other groups were injured in the accident, some of whom reportedly have been flown back to the United States for medical treatment.
“Dr. Feather was a well-respected man in our community,” Paul Sizemore, student minister at First Baptist New Albany, told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. “This is a huge loss to his family and to our church.”
Ed Phillips of Clarksdale, Miss., told the Daily Journal he and Feather had been friends since boyhood.
“On a personal level, Ron was the kind of friend everyone needs and few have,” he said. “He always told you the truth, even the truth you didn’t want to hear. He was truly one of the good guys. The way he died says as much about him as anything I could.”
Jamie Bates, a member of First Baptist Church in Gulfport, Miss., who was part of the larger group working with Feather near Tegucigalpa, Honduras, told Baptist Press that in the six days the team had been there, the two dentists, four doctors and five or six nurses had seen around 1,000 patients and delivered more than $1 million worth of donated medical supplies.
Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union County in New Albany donated part of the supplies, and Stephen C. Reynolds, president and CEO of Baptist Memorial Health Care in Memphis, Tenn., expressed sorrow over news of Feather’s tragic death.
“On behalf of the entire Baptist Memorial family, we are deeply saddened by this loss, and we extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Dr. Ronald Feather,” Reynolds said in a statement July 28.
“Dr. Feather was a tremendous leader, not only as the chairman of Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union County’s board of directors, but also in the Union County community. Our hearts and prayers also go out to the families of those who were injured in the crash, as they struggle to recover from their injuries,” he added. “Everyone who went on this mission trip was deeply devoted to caring for those who are less fortunate, and their work should be celebrated.”
The church’s pastor, Malcolm Pinion, accompanied the group on the trip and was able to minister to them as the tragedy unfolded.
Sizemore told Baptist Press the trip to Honduras was the first international mission trip First Baptist New Albany had taken in several years, although they’re frequently active in missions within the United States.
He told the Daily Journal, “We’ve had a renewed emphasis in our church toward spreading the Gospel and meeting the physical needs of people. Countries like Honduras represent a number of desperate needs. These [volunteers] were very eager to go there and do what they could to help.”
He urged Southern Baptists to pray for the individuals who were injured in the accident and for the Feather family during their time of mourning and adjusting to their loss.
“They’ll have very specific things that they’ll have to work through,” Sizemore said.