Doctor Marietta Crowder and Dr. Kerfoot Walker have had long distinguished careers in medicine; but it's what they have done on their vacations that have affected people throughout the world.
Like many world travelers, Dr. Martietta Crowder Walker and Dr. Kerfoot Walker have filled their Chapel Hill home with souvenirs from their years of travel. But their trips to the far corners of the earth were never pleasure trips.
Their vacations from Marietta's job as Director of the State Region 7 Department of Health and Kerfoot's job as Director of the Tyler-Smith County Health Department, were spent bringing medical aid to some of the most remote and dangerous regions of the world.
"The entry fee was originally two tons of rice to get a visa," said Dr. Kerfoot Walker.
North Korea, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Central Asia, South America, India, Nepal... the list goes on and on.
"Pakistan was as bad as any for Americans."
Marietta Crowder and Kerfoot Walker met in 1955 as interns at Jefferson Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. Marietta was the only woman among the 26 interns, and although she was always at the head of her class, as a woman, it had taken her much longer to get into medical school.
"I applied 6 years before I ever got in," said Dr. Marietta Crowder Walker.
Even though both were to have long, distinguished careers in medicine, their mission to take Christian medicine to those in need was a bond from the beginning.
"The point is to bring Christ through medicine to people anywhere in the world," said Dr. Kerfoot Walker. "The Indian people whom I've worked mostly with in Belize back away from the coast, and do not trust the hospital or hospital doctors because in their minds, the hospitals are a place you go to die."
But they do trust the Walkers, who often carry out their missions at their own expense.
"Our church and friends have helped us when we go on mission trips, when we may not have enough money to do it," said Dr. Marietta Crowder Walker.
One of the Walker's many narrow escapes took place in Lebanon, near the Israeli border. On the way to a Lebanese village hospital, they were stopped by a group carrying Hesbolah flags saying "down with the Americans, kill the Americans."
"The leader of the group stepped back and said, "Oh, where are you from?", said Dr. Kerfoot Walker.
Kerfoot knew he couldn't say he was from America, or even from England.
"I stepped forward and put out my hand and said oh we're from Texas. The guy stepped back and I thought how long it is going to take him to figure out Texas is in the U.S., but he said "Oh, Cowboys! Come!" So we went into the Hesbolah home and had tea, grapes and little crumpets."
Even in retirement and into their 80's, Kerfoot and Marietta Walker continue to travel the world, relieving suffering and taking Christ's message into some of its darkest corners.
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