Sue and Tim Mead (CU Pharmacy alums '79 and '75 respectively), together with their daughters, have built a strong family bond by building houses for others. "In addition to learning how to roof, stucco and cut wood, the experience taught us how to give back, to see that we are part of a bigger world, and to reflect on how much we have," says Sue Mead.
The Meads have helped build dozens of homes in Juarez, Mexico, a Texas border town located close to El Paso. "In fact, our younger daughter Kelly, has built more houses than Tim and I," says Mead. Having built 16 homes by the time she was a teenager, Kelly would travel to Juarez by herself -- sometimes twice a year -- to assist the community. "She learned how to work as a team -- an incredibly valuable skill to learn at a young age. I believe that set her up well for her current profession as an orthopedic surgeon."
The family's involvement is a direct result of their church -- Trinity Lutheran Church -- and its association with Casas Por Cristo, a not-for-profit whose mission is to build homes, relationships and opportunities. Dedicated to meeting the physical needs of better housing while meeting the spiritual needs of the recipients, the organization has provided more than 5,000 families with homes throughout Mexico, Guatemala, and the Dominican Republic.
According to Mead, "Tim and I are 'Jacks of All Trades,' when it comes to house building, but we tend to be in charge of cutting the wood. We have learned to measure twice and cut once as there is no room for inaccuracy and waste." They have discovered that their pharmacy backgrounds and attention to detail come in handy. In fact, Tim is the stucco master. "The parallels to compounding are remarkable," comments Mead.
Tim is pharmacy director for PharMerica, Inc., a national long-term care pharmacy provider, and Sue is director of Pharmacy at The Apothecary Wardenburg Health Center at the University of Colorado Boulder.