Journal Highlights: Roads I Have Traveled ... Excerpt #1 from November 1996

(In the early days of Project C.U.R.E. we had to develop our business strategy while we were in motion. We did not have someone else’s book to follow. Would we grow past Denver? Where would we get the supplies and pieces of medical equipment? What about warehouses, forklifts, volunteers? We had jumped off the top of the mountain and now we had to assemble the airplane in mid air before we hit the ground! Here is an example of one of those lonely thinking sessions.) 

ETHIOPIA, Nov.20, ’96: For most of the remaining time in London, I was able to catch up on my reading and some writing. I had time to think about just what Project C.U.R.E. might look like five years and ten years down the road. It is starting to take shape as an absolute twentieth-century miracle. 

We had all grunted and groaned together to push the big rock up the hill. Now that we are picking up a little momentum, we need to be even more diligent and even more sensitive to God’s direction. It seems like it would be wise and prudent to start planning on perhaps twenty to twenty-five Project C.U.R.E. warehouses in cities around the US, and possibly Canada. It just seems to make logical sense not to try to ship everything to Denver to warehouse and containerize. To truck medical goods from hospitals in Houston, Texas, to Denver; put those goods into a container; and then ship the container all the way back to Houston to put on a boat just doesn’t add up. It seems wiser to collect and containerize the materials right at or as close to the point of donation as possible. That would do several things to expedite matters: 

1. Over time we would save millions of overland shipping miles. 
2. It would keep Denver’s facilities from having to become too big. 
3. By spreading out the operation, we could utilize smaller warehouse facilities and also tap into additional volunteer pools as the project spreads around the country. 
4. Local medical-supply donors would be able to link local faces with Project C.U.R.E., as they keep in touch with volunteers who come around to visit them, rather than just seeing some disinterested overland truck driver pull up and then drive away. 
5. It would give perhaps thousands more people the opportunity to get involved in a hands‑on missions mobilization project. 
6. Local people developing relationships with hundreds of doctors, hospitals, and clinics would be able to ferret out millions more dollars’ worth of medical supplies than would one Denver‑based operation.

Those are just some of the factors on the positive side of the ledger. Of course, on the negative side … 

1. We would create an absolute logistical and managerial nightmare. 
2. We would immediately have to have people from our office ready to go to the new locations and train the warehouse manager, those who pick up the donated materials, those who pack the container, and so on. We would have to send our people out to make the initial introductions to suppliers like Baxter International, Owens and Minor, McGaw, Bristol, Johnson and Johnson, General Electric, Picker, etc., at all those new locations. 
3. We would have to have available trucks with lift gates, at least one pallet jack per warehouse, perhaps one forklift per warehouse, wooden pallets, donated warehouse space with loading docks that would match the height of the cargo containers, etc.

I believe the scheduling of container shipping and the decision for the final destination of the loads will always be handled through the Denver office, as well as all the receipting of donations and the tracking of the materials. That will give the operation stability and continuity and will always allow us to maintain our integrity with our donors, our recipients, and the Internal Revenue Service. The on‑location warehouse managers could fax or e‑mail the inventory of items picked up on a given day and the donor’s name. Denver could put that information into the computer and issue written receipt letters the next day. That would let us know exactly what we have in inventory in each location at any given time. From that inventory we could determine what and when to ship to a recipient country.

 Next Week: Who will pay for all this?

© Dr. James W. Jackson   

Permissions granted by Winston-Crown Publishing House