International Women's Day: Meet Orbis hero Valerie Suberg

In honour of International Women's Day we're delighted to introduce you to a vital member of the Orbis family - Valerie Suberg - our Senior Manager of Aircraft Maintenance. Without this incredible woman, our Flying Eye Hospital would never get off the ground - literally.

Hailing from a small town in Northern California, the former FedEx worker has traveled all over the world with Orbis ensuring the safe operation of our MD-10 and its predecessor, the DC-10.

Valerie has worked in aircraft operations for over 30 years and has been graciously donating her time to Orbis since 2002 when she was first chosen to be the FedEx volunteer to support our DC-10.

Flying Eye Hospital In Barbados.

Without Valerie our Flying Eye Hospital wouldn't be able to get off the runway.

Getting the aircraft to its destination and being able to provide a safe airplane for the hospital is a challenge she really enjoys.

Valerie Suberg

Senior Manager of Aircraft Maintenance, Flying Eye Hospital

There are not many things an air­craft mechan­ic can do in their field to help oth­ers. By get­ting the plane to the pro­gram and hav­ing it set up as a hos­pi­tal is rewarding.”

We think Valerie is being too modest here. By keeping our MD-10 in top condition, Valerie ensures our state-of-the-art flying teaching hospital can travel the globe with world-leading volunteers sharing knowledge and skills with communities that need it most.

One of her most memorable moments while volunteering with Orbis took place in 2003. She was moved to tears by two young girls in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Paediatric patient Nejat before her pre-membranous cataract operation

With Valerie's support we can provide quality eye care where it's needed most

The pair were blind in both eyes with cataracts and underwent surgery on the plane. She said: “The next day the girls were brought to the laser room and sat facing each other, with their fathers and the patches were taken off. We then gave them little mirrors and they could see themselves. It brought tears to everyone in the room. I heard afterwards that the girls went on to college and had their own families."

Valerie Suberg

Senior Manager of Aircraft Maintenance, Flying Eye Hospital

Being cho­sen for this job of tak­ing care of this very spe­cial air­plane. Gain­ing the respect of the flight crew and know­ing that togeth­er we can lit­er­al­ly take this plane any­where in the world is pret­ty awesome.

"To be able to see the miracles and lives that are changed each day on the plane is what is important. Everything else seems to fall by the wayside, when I see how the local patients are helped.”

Valerie, thank you for all you hard work and dedication. You’re an inspiration to us all!

Without you we couldn’t transform so many lives and provide training opportunities for doctors, nurses and healthcare teams around the world.

Thank you for being a valuable part of our family!

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