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Special Thanks


SD VOSH wouldn't be possible without the contributions of many generous individuals.  SD VOSH would like to send a big thank you to everyone, past and present, who has contributed time, money, and energy in making our organization and our missions a huge success. Below you can read about some of the our contributors:

Dr. Phil Freitag of Madison, SD

Dr. Phil Freitag receives an award
Dr. Phil Freitag shares lunch with his wife
Dr. Phil Freitag prepares his phoropter for the week
Dr. Phil Freitag uses phoropter while interpreter watches on
Dr. Phil Freitag and his senorita Rosemarie enjoy dinner together
Dr. Phil Freitag and Hugo pose for photo together
Dr. Phil Freitag receives another certificate
Dr. Phil Freitag works with his patient and his interpreter
Dr. Phil Freitag
  • 6 Mexican Missions (1981-1984, 1994, 1998)

  • 12 Jamaican Missions (1984-1995)

  • 2 Nicaraguan Missions (1992, 1993)

  • Started Jamaica and Nicaragua Mission Trips

  • President of South Dakota Optometric Society in 1982

  • Named Distinguished Optometrist in 1992

  • President of VOSH International 1993-1995

  • As the President of VOSH International, Dr. Freitag summarized VOSH International's future direction with an acronym, POLISH (People Offering Love, Inspiration, Sight, and Help), and challenged every VOSH member to "POLISH" our organization like a fine, quality diamond!

Dr. Thomas Garrity of Hoven, SD

Dr. Tom Garrity and his friend dance in fancy clothes
Dr. Thomas Garrity sorts glasses
Dr. Tom Garrity performs retinoscopy
Dr. Thomas Garrity shakes hands with Gomez Palacio Lions Club President during a awards ceremony
Dr. Tom Garrity trial-frames lenses
Dr. Thomas Garrity and Dr. Dan Rabbitt sport sombreros
Dr. Tom Garrity gets hugs from two beautiful Mexican girls
Dr. Tom Garrity holds child for photo
Dr. Thomas Garrity and his friend Joseph say hello to the camera
Dr. Tom Garrity shows other doctors how he does his exam
Dr. Tom Garrity trial-frames some lenses as his interpreter watches
Dr. Thomas Garrity wears cowboy hat and plays ukulele
Dr. Tom Garrity poses in front of the Cristo de las Noas
Dr. Thomas Garrity receives hugs from a friend
Dr. Thomas Garrity and friends pose with hats, fake guns, etc.
Dr. Tom Garrity performs retinoscopy
Dr. Thomas Garrity receives another award
  • 37 Mexican missions (1980-1990, 1992-2010, 2012-present)

  • Directed 10 missions

  • Served in every capacity on the board of SD VOSH (President, Vice President, Treasurer for over 20 years, and Secretary)

  • Website Design and Management for SD VOSH (from its origination until 2017)

  • Dr. Garrity has dedicated years of service to SD VOSH, and has been on every Gomez Palacio mission trip since 1980, except one. Dr. Garrity has made it his mission to photograph and document the history of that trip.  Click here to see the detailed history.

Kay Thomas of Alexandria, SD

Kay Thomas
Kay Thomas searches for the right pair of glasses
Kay Thomas sports a sombrero
Kay Thomas peruses through a box looking for the right Rx
Kay Thomas and her friend pose for a picture
Kay Thomas works to find the correct prescription for her patient
Kay Thomas and her friend pose for picture after finishing their lunch
Kay Thomas and some friends wait for lunch to start
Kay Thomas uses an interpreter to help patient
Kay Thomas and a couple friends take a photo together
  • 26 Mexican missions (1989-1990, 1993-1994, 1996-1998, 2000-2009, 2014-2020, 2023-2024)

  • Member of Palace City Lions group (see below)

  • Organized the cleaning, verifying, and packaging of donated glasses from 2013-2017, while personally preparing nearly 7,000 pairs of glasses a year during this period of time

  • Trained the Women at the SD Women's Correctional Facility in Pierre, SD how to clean, verify, and package the glasses

  • Helped organize the transportation of the donated glasses from Sioux Falls (South Dakota Lions Club) to Pierre (South Dakota Women's Prison) and then back to Sioux Falls (storage)

  • Coordinated the repair of broken equipment and the purchase/donation of much needed supplies for the workers at the Women's Prison

Check Out this Special Video Tribute for Kay created by the Lions Club in Gomez Palacio, Mexico

South Dakota Lions Club Foundation


Palace City Lions Club of Mitchell, SD

Palace City Lions Club of Mitchell, SD group photo
Palace City Lions Club Member sorting glasses
Palace City Lions Club Members sorting and cleaning glasses
Palace City Lions Club Member reading Rx
Palace City Lions Club members verifying glasses
Volunteers at "sorting party"
Palace City Lions Club Member cleans glasses at Avera optometry in Mitchell, SD
  • Sent multiple members on Mexican mission

  • In 2016-2017, the Palace City Lions Club cleaned, verified and packaged over 10,000 pairs of glasses

  • Paid rent for two storage sheds that store donated glasses

  • Purchased $800 worth of bags to store the glasses

  • Purchased a lensometer for use at the Pierre facility

  • Various members (especially Dennis Kaus) have made numerous trips from Mitchell to Sioux Falls and Pierre transporting glasses in what they call the "dance of the glasses"

Rotary Club of Detroit Lakes, MN

  • Sent multiple members on Jamaican mission.  In fact, one of the Rotarian's daughters went in 2007, and was so impressed she became an Optometrist

  • In 2005, held a fundraiser that raised $14,000, which was used to purchase a desktop auto refractor, slit lamp, Tonopen, trial lens kit, stools, and some hand held instruments that are used on the Jamaica mission

VOSH International

VOSH International Logo
  • VOSH International supports the efforts of all of its chapters including South Dakota VOSH

  • VOSH International and all of its chapters host nearly 50 trips this year

  • Please visit to read more about VOSH International
South Dakota Lions Club Foundation Logo
  • The South Dakota Lions Club Foundation is instrumental in collecting, storing, and distributing donated glasses, so they can be repurposed on our mission trips

  • To read about their mission, please visit



Members of the 30+ Missions Club

Members of the 20+ Missions Club

Members of the 10+ Missions Club

  • Dr. Thomas Garrity (37)

  • Kay Thomas (26)

  • Dr. Brad Meier (25)

  • Dr. Phil Bugaiski (23)

  • Dr. Phil Freitag (20)

  • Dr. Doug Torbert (15)

  • Dr. Phil Lundquist (14)

  • Dr. Larry Morrison (13)

  • Audrey Lundquist (12)

  • Jim Donovan (11)

  • Dr. Richard Isaak (10)

  • Jenny Ness (10)

  • Trudi Haag (10)


2024 Donors List

Become a "Friend of VOSH" or your company can make a dramatic impact on SD VOSH with a valuable donation.

Ally of South Dakota VOSH ($250+)

Partner of South Dakota VOSH ($100-$249)

Friend of South Dakota VOSH ($50-$99)

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