WORTH COUNTY, GEORGIA– Imagine a group of seven women with a load of supplies – medical – being led across the border from the Dominican Republic into Haiti.
They had on their hearts a purpose – to help the citizens of Haiti who had just been traumatized as a result of an earthquake.
Helping to form the medical mission team was Treasure Pope, a physician’s assistant from south Georgia. Pope and her three sisters were a part of the team. Treasure is a native of Bleckley County, Georgia.
She said, “My most memorable trip was to Haiti when the earthquake hit. A friend of mine who lives in the Dominican Republic sent me a photo of kids pulled from the rubble and stacked on the tailgate of a truck like a cord wood.”
Her heart broke. “I told my husband right then that I didn’t know know how, but I was going to help. I’ve never had a stronger call in all my life and knew I would be miserable if I didn’t.”
Treasure added, “Little did I know then that all three of my sisters were thinking the same thing. Our team of all women prepared to go. A Dominican pastor led us across the border from the Dominican into Haiti.”
She said, “We weren’t ever sure if we would be allowed in. We were relieved when we got to the border and were promptly issued in.”
The women set up the clinic at the schoolroom in an old church that had fallen during the earthquake. “God knew right where He needed us to be and made a way for it. This visit is embedded deep into my soul, and is something I will never forget.”
“Unfortunately, these people have a poor foundation both literally and figuratively. Their structures were built shotty and not reinforced, as well as, was most of their souls. Voodoo or black magic is their primary religion and if you read your Bible you will realize why this happened. Pray for these souls.”
Pope said, “It was an honor serving these people. Never have I been around such a happier group of people than these people.”
“While the kids had very little, they made the very most of what they did and never knew any different. The smiles of these kids are forever imprinted on my heart.”
Treasure is married to Chris Pope, who Treasure says, “is my soul mate … hand-picked from Heaven by my daddy for sure. He is so much like, him and that makes me love him all the more.” She is also the mother of three “wonderful children,” Trey, Bryce and Mary Claire, mother-in-law to Carlee and Tanner, and “Grammy to my first grandchild, Levi.”
She said, of being a grandmother, “Never knew how great that would be! I prayed for him! I used to tease Trey that the only reason I had him was to have a grandchild.”
The Popes live on the family farm in Worth County. “It was inherited after his dad passed away. We spent most of our free time here anyway, so it was only natural that we would move into the old family home place.”
She said, “We love it here and this will be our forever home. I will die here. When I am not working the emergency room (ER), I’m on the farm working even harder. I joke that I have to go to the hospital to rest! I love cooking and canning, but my other passion is plants. Never know what you will find me in my greenhouse doing.”
A 1995 graduate of The Medical College of Georgia with a degree Bachelor of Allied Health, Treasure has been a practicing physician’s assistant(PA) since her graduation.
“I chose medicine all those years ago, because I knew I wanted to work in the medical field, and I saw a PA as a patient myself, and realized this was what I was being called to do.”
Treasure continued, “I’ve worked in family practice and pediatrics but working in an ER has been the once constant job for almost 25 years. It gets into your blood.”
“Blood, guts and bones are my thing! Who would have thought a little farm girl from Cochran would love this! I currently work multiple small rural ERs as a solo provider – meaning that when I am on my shift, I am the solo provider,” she explained.
“It is usually just me and a couple of nurses. The nurses work 12 hour shifts, but mine last usually a minimum of 24 and a maximum of 72 hours,” Treasure said.
She continued, “Many call these small ERs ‘band aid stations,’ but if it wasn’t for these small ERs, so many people wouldn’t survive. You see a lot of patients are too unstable to make it to a larger hospital, and that is where the value of these small ERs comes in. We save lives on a daily basis. We handle every medical issue from birth to the grave.”
Treasure stated, “In the ER, you are the cardiologist, the OB/GYN, the orthopedist … etc. You have to know every area of medicine. Yes, I’ve even delivered babies. A lot of people think the staff at the hospitals are just locals that couldn’t find a better job when in reality these workers are usually the most qualified in their fields.”
She concluded, “Because of the few on staff, everyone has to be on their A game, and I proudly work along side these folks everyday. At a dear friends’ funeral recently, someone was expressing to me that they worry that I work too much. I told them that when you love what you do, it makes it all worth it. I told them if I could hand pick the perfect job for myself, this would be it. I am blessed.”
When asked if there was anything about her life that had been hard, Treasure said, “I suppose I have situations in my life that I have had to overcome just like everyone else. The worst was probably not being able to save a dear friend despite knowing I did all I could to save him. I cried for days …that one really hurt, but I truly knew I gave it 110%.”
“I use my religion to help patients cope. That’s definitely not the most politically correct thing to do now days, but that’s what I’m led in my heart to do. Not once have I ever felt it didn’t make a difference,” Treasure said. “One time I had a patient sing me a hymn in his exam room. One of the nurses told the other nurse that she guessed she needed to go rescue me from him. The other nurse told her ‘No, she’s enjoying this.’” She added, “May people always see my love for my Lord in me.”
Treasure said that the spiritual quote “I live by in the hospital is truly the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. To me it doesn’t matter if you are the CEO of the hospital or a member of housekeeping, it takes us all to make the hospital run.”
She continued, “I wouldn’t want to do the housekeepers’ job just like I’m sure they wouldn’t want to do mine either, but it takes everybody, and they can be the top of their field at their job just like you or the CEO can be, so treat them that way.”
“Never make anyone feel inferior because of their job title or you feel superior because of yours,” Treasure said.
If she could choose a superpower, Treasure paused. “A superpower? Well, let’s see. That’s an easy one. Time travel. I would give nothing more than to be able to go back into time and hold my children as small kids in my lap one more time, and to go back and visit with my daddy again when he was well.”
She smiled, “Thanks to my good Lord and my salvation, I know that time with my daddy is coming, and soon I will spend eternity with him. In the sweet by and by.”
Treasure commented, “My hope as a PA is that I leave this world a little better than I found it. That’s a tall order in today’s world.”
“My favorite quote is from Ralph Waldo Emerson … ‘To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children…to leave the world a better place…to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.’”
And that is a good quote to end by.