In kindergarten, Dan Lewan was a picky eater, yet his teacher told him he was destined to travel the world eating strange foods. In college, he began to feel she might be right. Freshman year, he seized an opportunity to do humanitarian work gutting houses in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He liked it so much that he moved on to build houses for Habitat for Humanity in North Carolina, then, to volunteer work at an orphanage in the Dominican Republic.
While attending Central Michigan Univeristy, Dan and his girlfriend, Alicia, (who would later become his wife) told him she wanted two things –to work in the medical field and to go to Africa. He found an opportunity at a mission hospital in Gabon and they spent a year there. It was a “gap year” for her, but filled with valuable experience. While not hosting visiting medical teams she was allowed to “scrub-in” many surgeries as a tech.
He saw signs of “Rotary” everywhere. He befriended a physician from Congo in a surgical residency, who left Dan in Gabon to return to his native Congo. After their year in Gabon, Dan and Alicia moved to Philadelphia, where she got her masters as a Physician Assistant. There, he found a job of his own in corporate sales for Kelly Services. Three years later they were in Baltimore and Dan was looking to find work outside the corporate ladder.
His present employer, E4 Project (www.e4project.org), found him through a mutual contact from Gabon, and offered him a job, aligned with his interests, that was easy for him to accept. Dan is passionate about humanitarian outreach. E4’s mission to Educate, Engage, Equip, and Empower is a perfect match. Dan now works closely with that Congolese surgeon he befriended all those years ago who is now the only surgeon in his province of 2.5 million people. They work together to improve healthcare, public health and economic development in a remote and underdeveloped region of Congo. See a glimpse here.
Dan first came to Ann Arbor when Alicia accepted a position as Physician Assistant at U-M Hospital’s Emergency Room. Before their move, they connected with Rotarian, Realtor, and townie, Sara Maddock to look for houses. Upon hearing his story, she said, “you have to join Rotary,” so, he did. He and wife, Alicia, have a six-month old son, who’s been seen at more than one Rotary meeting. He promises to be their biggest adventure yet.