I was born in Pretoria, South Africa. After graduating from High School, I decided to study optometry, following in the footsteps of my father who ran a successful practice. At the time, the optometry school in Johannesburg offered the only program on the continent of Africa.
With his last obstacle to clear, Joe Blackburn, O.D.,'64, fell down a steep hill, wound up in a ditch filled with muddy water up to his neck, and got out fully soaked from a treacherous 4.2 mile run across muddy trails up one hill and down another with 20 obstacles to navigate. This longtime optometrist was testing the endurance of his lifetime.
During the early days of the pandemic, healthcare professionals were desperately trying to purchase face masks. However, Dallas-based Dr. Edward Makler ’72 and his daughter, Amy, were already at the forefront trying to bring much-needed face masks and thermometers for hundreds of optometrists, ophthalmologists and allied healthcare professionals. One of their close contacts, an importer, had access to large quantities of masks, thermometers and other PPE.