June Jones planned on changing lives in America Samoa, but beyond his wildest dreams or the dreams of his travel companions, they became part of a life saving mission this summer.
Jones and four Southern Methodist University football coaches joined five coaches from the Hawaii coaching staff to conduct the First Annual June Jones Football Academy in Samoa.
Jones, who is well respected in the Polynesian culture, wanted to the make trip more than just about football. He wanted to make a real contribution to their way of life.
SMU's new head football coach reached out to another person who has a passion for the Polynesian people, and asked Ellie Reinebold, the wife of wide receiver coach Jeff Reinebold, to take a team of hospital personnel to make the trip a medical mission as well as a football clinic.
"If it weren't for June Jones this medical mission would have never been accomplished," Mrs. Reinebold said. "He wanted to change lives of football players but also wanted to make a difference in the lives of everyday people in the area."
The team of five medical professionals not only brought needed medical supplies, they taught twenty-two lectures on everything from critical care of children to emergency room techniques. They helped man four areas of the hospital including the intensive care unit, the emergency room, and the pediatric care unit.
It was there they met eight year old May Tao who was given a life threatening diagnosis.
"They didn't realize how acutely ill she was," Mrs. Reinebold said. "They were going to have her transported to the mainland three days later. If we hadn't realized how ill she was and had her transported immediately, she would have never made it those three days. We had her air lifted to Hawaii and she is now in stable condition."
Saving lives isn't new to Mrs. Reinebold, who serves as the head Pediatric Nurse Practionier and supervisor of the University of Kaplolani Medical Center for Women and Children. She will shortly complete her Doctorate degree.
"We receive a lot of patients from Samoa in very critical condition," Reinebold said. "We wanted to help bring health education to the Island . They have so many needs. They don't realize how critical time can be in situations. Hopefully we helped them realize how important it is to quickly recognize critical situations and take immediate action. We gave more than twenty-two lectures and everyone was so appreciative and also very willing to learn."
Over seventy-six boxes of much needed medical supplies were purchased by the June Jones Foundation and contributed to the hospital. This contribution by the Foundation provided many necessary items needed to run a hospital.
Reinebold was accompanied by Dr. Francis Conde, a UH Nursing professor and two master medical students.
The Jones Foundation paid for the medical team's airfares, lodging and made the team feel a part of the coaches' families.
"I can't say enough about June's love and passion for the Samoan and Polynesian culture," Reinebold said. "June is a visionary, a man of strong convictions and depth and integrity which is unbelievable. He wants every young man and woman to have the same opportunity to be the very best they can be. He is a second chance guy. He is a believer in the underdog. He will do whatever it takes to make a difference in people's lives."
There are roughly 65,000 people on the Island of America Samoa . Donations can be made to the June Jones Foundation/Medical Mission Samoa to help continue much needed work in the medical area on the Island.
"We are currently working on getting a medical school satellite set up there on the Island to help increase the quality of care for everyone," Reinebold said. "Anyone who can help should help this great cause. I'm so proud that Coach Jones asked us to be a part of this mission. I can't tell you how life changing it was to everyone that participated and also to the people of Samoa, especially May Tao."
According to Reinebold the name June Jones is greatly respected by the people of Hawaii and Samoa.
"Everyone loves June Jones," Reinebold said. "He has a big heart for the people of Samoa and everyone with whom he comes in contact. He wants everyone to have the opportunity to achieve the dream of success."