Serving at Sea, One Vanguard Alumna’s Family Offers Hope and Healing Along the Coast of West Africa

60 minutes reports on Vanguard alumna for Mercy shipFirst imagine life on a ship. Then imagine life in a hospital. Now combine the two and you have the life of one Vanguard University Alumna’s family.

Featured on CBS News 60 Minutes Overtime, Vanguard Alumna Susan Parker ’82, her husband Gary, and their two children, Carys and Wesley, live aboard the Africa Mercy ship, a vessel of medical hope. Mercy Ships is an organization that provides free medical services, such as surgeries, dental treatment and consultations, to the poorest of the poor around the world.

For the past 27 years, Gary Parker has worked as a maxillofacial surgeon on this floating hospital, which sails around the coast of West Africa providing medical assistance to a very grateful people. Gary and Susan met, married and started a family while working on the ship. Their children have lived their entire lives at sea.

Being a family that places the needs of others before their own, the Parkers thrive aboard this ship. The Parker children are praised for their loving hearts that have embraced this journey and play a vital role in the rehabilitation of patients that come on the ship for medical attention. They, alongside their parents, bring healing to the broken people onboard through physical, mental and spiritual repair.

Commenting on the struggles and uncertainty she has experienced raising a family at sea, Susan said there was a point in which she resolved: “This is my destiny.” Each member of this family contains a heart of service that propels them to continue giving and trusting that they are walking in their calling.

To watch some of the clips from the 60 Minutes Overtime show, click here.

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