2018-01-13 / Front Page

Mission team back to Haiti


Dr. Victor Brown (left) is joined by Paul Burke and Paulette Schierer on a mission team trip to Haiti, bringing medical and dental care to poverty-stricken communities through the Wesleyan Church. Dr. Victor Brown (left) is joined by Paul Burke and Paulette Schierer on a mission team trip to Haiti, bringing medical and dental care to poverty-stricken communities through the Wesleyan Church. Coudersport dentist Dr. Victor D. Brown of Coudersport is returning to the poverty-stricken island nation of Haiti, his 33rd annual mission trip to provide basic dental care.

Due to poor health conditions, financial destitution and other factors – including the popularity of sugar cane among both adults and children – dental care is nearly nonexistent for most Haitians.

“Our focus is basically tooth extractions,” Dr. Brown explained. “We try to educate the citizens as much as we can on dental care, but considering the large number of patients and the extreme needs, the best we can do in most cases is to extract teeth.” A 1973 graduate of Coudersport Area High School, Victor is the son of Barbara Brown and the late Walter Brown. He began his dental career with an office in Ulysses and relocated to Coudersport several years ago.

His trips to Haiti are a reflection of his own religious faith and commitment to service. They’re coordinated through the Haitian Wesleyan Church. He has regularly been accompanied by other family members and friends who serve as dental assistants and a support network for the professionals.

There have been some tense moments.

Haiti is still recovering from the devastating earthquake of Jan. 12, 2010, a catastrophe that Dr. Brown and other members of his team escaped by just hours. He and his daughter, Carli Hetrick, along with John Kio of Coudersport had flown out of Port-au-Prince that same afternoon and learned of the tragedy upon their arrival at JFK Airport in New York.

Back in Coudersport, Dr. Brown continues service at the Cole Dentistry office on Eighth Street. He also commands the 914th Aeromedical Staging Squadron at the Niagara Falls (N.Y.) Air Reserve Station.

He entered the Air Force Reserve by direct commission in 2001 and has participated in several international missions, including service in war-torn Iraq.

Brown is a member of the Academy of General Dentistry, which is dedicated to lifelong learning for the dental profession. He has been married to the former Linda Freeman for 42 years and credits his father-in law’s distinguished military career as a primary factor for his enlistment with the Air Force Reserve.

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