Children sleeping on cement floors in adult prisons where they are often abused, and people so poor they can't afford to visit a doctor or dentist and instead live with serious health problems are two of the groups retired physician Bill Hayes helps through his work with Mission on the Move, a non-profit, non-denominational Christian organization that brands itself as a "ministry with a heart for people in need."
Hayes not only makes mission trips to Mexico and Honduras but he also sits on the national organization's board.
Hayes, 73, is well known locally for his passion for service. He is a past winner of the prestigious Dr. Clarence C. Butler Service and Leadership Award presented by the St. Francis Foundation.
Hayes served as a pathologist at St. Francis Hospital then opened a private practice in general medicine.
Never miss a local story.
During his distinguished career, Hayes was president of the Muscogee County Medical Society and served on the Board of Directors for New Horizons. At St. Francis Hospital, he served as chief of the Medical Staff and chair of the Family Practice Department. He was the first president of the Harris County Chamber of Commerce.
It wasn't until he retired in 1998 that he began to get involved in mission work. "I had a solo practice and just could not find the time. I was waiting for the opportunity," he said.
Hayes, who lives in Cataula, Ga., with his wife, Gwen, went on mission trips to places such as Costa Rica and Ecuador then about 10 years ago got involved with Mission on the Move. He heard about the organization through a friend at St. Mark United Methodist Church that he attended at the time.
Hayes calls the work he has done with Mission on the Move "very satisfying."
Mission on the Move was organized in 1986 by the Rev. Ed Cadle, Sr., a retired Methodist minister.
In Tapachula, Chiapas Mexico, the organization has three homes for children. There are 15 in the girls home and 25 boys divided between the other two.
The children come from the men's prisons where they lived with their fathers who have been jailed for crimes as serious as kidnapping, drugs and murder.
"I've been to the prison and it's a scary place to visit," Hayes said.
In parts of Mexico, if a man goes to prison, his wife and children can live with him if they do not have a home. If there is no mother, the children join the father.
"There are no cells," Hayes explained. "It is like a big commune. Children may share a room with several prisoners. The living conditions are terrible."
Children are only taken to one of the Mission on the Move homes with parental permission.
"We make sure the children are fed well, kept healthy and get some education," Hayes said. It is a safe, Christian environment.
Mission on the Move also looks for ways to minister to the families of the children who come from the prison by providing bible studies and prayer time.
Hayes worked on the homes in Mexico doing woodwork, roofing and painting.
Gwen Hayes did some tiling. "That's something we've done in our own home," she said. "The homes are badly needed there."
Hayes has taken a lathe there. The children use it to make spinning tops and jewelry to sell. He has several of the tops at his home.
Annually, Hayes leads one of four medical teams Mission on the Move sends to the Santa Elena and Los Pinos areas of Honduras which provide free medical, dental and eye care to the local people. Hayes said people come down the mountain to see the medical teams.
"We can diagnose problems such as diabetes and hypertension and make sure people get the proper medication," Hayes said.
There is a problem with clean water so there is a problem with infections and parasites.
Mission on the Move also pays for surgeries. Hayes mentioned one 5-year-old girl who needed three for anal stenosis.
In Honduras, public education is only free through the sixth grade. "Most families can't afford to pay so the children's education stops there," Hayes said.
Mission on the Move provides scholarships for many children to continue their education through college. Mission on the Move also provides its own Christian education and nutrition program. More education can result in a better future for the country, Hayes said.
Though Hayes has not visited it, there is a Mission on the Move ministry in Kenya. It is operated by Isaac and Margaret Mwangi. The ministry has built a church there and provides education and food to those in need.
"Our emphasis everywhere is on children," Hayes said.
Hayes will be making his next medical mission trip in May. He usually takes about 20 people with him. As usual, he will bring bibles.
"I am looking forward to it," Hayes said.