By LINDSAY WELBERS
A Hyde Park pediatrician was killed while working with children in Afghanistan.
Dr. Jerry Umanos was killed when a member of the Afghan security guard opened fire on foreign doctors on Tuesday, April 24. Three Americans, including Umanos, were killed.
Umanos worked at the CURE International Hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he had been a volunteer for seven years.
He had also worked with the Lawndale Christian Health Center, 3860 W. Ogden Ave., for 25 years before he went to Afghanistan in 2007.
“Jerry fully understood the risks of serving in Afghanistan. For him, the privilege of serving the Afghan people far outweighed this risk,” said Dr. Bruce Rowell, chief clinical officer for quality at LCHC in a statement. “Jerry loved what he was doing. His enthusiasm was so contagious that since 2007 many Lawndale Christian Health Center staff and friends have traveled to Afghanistan alone and in teams to help at CURE International Hospital, see patients in a family medicine clinic, teach medical residents, or set up health screenings in schools to help Afghan children and families in the poorest neighborhoods in Kabul.”
He and his wife Jan Schuitema lived on the 5000 block of South Blackstone Avenue. She previously taught special education at William Ray Elementary School, 5631 S. Kimbark Ave.
“We may never know the number of future doctors, teachers, or law enforcement officers who were given the chance to live full and healthy lives because of the work of the CURE International Hospital staff and the service and sacrifice of Jerry and his family,” said Dale Bratner, president and CEO of CURE International, in a statement.