Dr. Joseph Serra was an orthopedic surgeon in Stockton for more than 40 years.
“Most of our practice was between St Joseph and Tamron,” the 84-year-old retiree said.
When he wasn’t practicing medicine locally, he was volunteering to do it globally. The head physician for both the University of the Pacific sports program and the Stockton Ports, Serra’s lasting legacy will be judged on his humanitarian work.
Having visited the east African country of Malawi 11 times to help treat kids with polio, Serra began to see the results of multiple NGOs work to eradicate polio. The doctor wanted to find a new way where he could make a difference.
“I fell in love with doing wheel chair projects,” Serra said.
Serra and his wife Dorothy found that a wheelchair doesn’t just help the child that needs it, but the entire family.
“You see the child and some of them are cerebral palsy children that have been carried on their mom or dads back their entire lives, never had a wheelchair," Serra said. "Some are in their teens.”
In Asia, Latin America, Africa, the Serras have helped hundreds of children and their families have access to wheelchairs, and they do it all for the joy they see in their patients faces.
“We’re giving these kids mobility," Serra said. "They’re getting a different vision of the world. Instead of seeing everything from off the ground, and they can see you eye to eye and that’s just a great advantage.”
Those interested in helping the Serras can visit this website.