Dr. Gruber, Long-time ReSurge Volunteer Educator, Remembered
Dr. Haskell Gruber, retired professor, orthodontist and long-time ReSurge volunteer, passed away on November 8, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas, surrounded by his family. He was almost 92 years old.
From 1987 to 2010, Dr. Haskell Gruber volunteered his time with ReSurge as a visiting educator, evaluating patients and educating local medical and dental professionals about the importance of orthodontic care for children with clefts.
"We at ReSurge are deeply grateful for Dr. Gruber's many years of devoted service, not only to the children he treated, but to the dentists and orthodontists in the developing world who he so skillfully taught," said ReSurge President & CEO Susan Hayes. "We are saddened by the news of Dr. Gruber's passing, and our thoughts are with his family."
Gruber traveled nearly two dozen times for ReSurge, delivering orthodontic care to children in Honduras, Ecuador, Chile and Vietnam, and providing all-important hands-on training to developing world dentists and orthodontists.
"Everyone wants to help and this is how I give back," said Gruber. "If you get, you need to give."
As a member of the U.S. Air Force for 30 years, one of Gruber's early assignments was to Wilford Hall Medical Center's large craniofacial and cleft lip and palate center. There, he began treating military children who were born with cleft lips or palates. Working with plastic surgeons and speech therapists, he often traveled to other countries to provide care to military dependents - always making sure to include teaching opportunities for local medical and dental professionals.
ReSurge is grateful to Dr. Gruber for his dedicated, long-time service to children with cleft lips and palates. He helped to build the capacity of developing world dentists who provide impoverished children the cleft care they need.
A wonderful example of Dr. Gruber's enduring impact on patient care is the intensive training that he provided for Dr. Elsie Tafur of Ecuador, which included more than 10 trips to Ecuador and advanced training in San Antonio. Because of his training, Dr. Tafur now has the skills to treat hundreds of cleft patients who are operated on by ReSurge's outreach partner in Ecuador, Dr. Jorge Palacios.
"Our organization and the thousands Dr. Gruber treated, taught and empowered in so many countries have been immeasurably enriched by his service. We will miss him," concluded Hayes.