Monthly Archives: February 2012

Learn More About “Celebration of Smiles”

With signups nearing the 150 mark, we’re off to a good start with “Celebration of Smiles” signups! If you haven’t heard about this new nationwide charitable marketing promotion sponsored by PPA Charities, in association with Marathon Press, then take a loot at this 12-minute video, the first in a series being produced by the PPA Charities Trustees. You’ll learn that this April 21 event is a great way attract new and existing clients, create valuable partnerships with local businesses or professionals, and ultimately to raise the profile of your business in the community.


In Memoriam: Jon Smith 9/9/54 – 1/31/12

jon_smith_painting.comThe PPA Charities family is mourning the loss of a wonderful friend, Jon R. Smith, of Moore, Oklahoma. Jon passed a way suddenly on January 31.

Typical of Jon’s willingness to help others was evident at Imaging USA in New Orleans, when he was the first volunteer to arrive to help set up for the PPACH Celebration Gala on Saturday, January 14, and he was the last to leave, once everything was packed up and moved out.

His friend (and PPACH Trustee) Randy Taylor said this about Jon, in forwarding the sad new about his passing: “Not many knew that Jon came to San Antonio and New Orleans to help with the Charity Event. He stayed for one day of trade show and went home after. He really enjoyed helping with our cause. He also worked with special kids at several Christmas events and always donated his time. He was the editor for the Oklahoma Professional Photographers and was serving as convention manager for the current year. He also served on our Affiliate School board and was responsible for the website and publication. Some people walk quietly and leave a huge foot print. He was one of those people.”

After hearing about his untimely death, Richard Sturdevant created the painting of a photograph by Ted Lane, shown here, for the family. Thanks to Richard and Ted, for allowing us to reproduce this beautiful tribute to Jon.

PPA Charities is receiving donations for a memorial gift in Jon’s name to benefit Operation Smile. To donate, go to this link. Type in Jon’s name when you update your donation total. Jon’s widow, Debbie Smith, can be reached at 405 N. Butler, Moore, OK 73160.

Jon’s obituary appears below:

Sept 9, 1954 – Jan 31, 2012 MOORE Jon R. Smith, 57, of Moore, OK, went to be with the Lord on January 31, 2012. He was born in Pawhuska, OK on September 9, 1954, to Walter & Clara Smith. Jon graduated from Moore High School in 1973. He attended the First Baptist Church of Moore. He was a professional photographer and was the editor of the Professional Photographers of Oklahoma. Jon is survived by his wife of 25 years, Deborah Smith; mother, Clara Smith; sister, Belinda Patrick and husband Larry; and nephew, Dennis Patrick. He was preceded by his father, Walter Smith. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m., Monday, February 6, 2012, at the First Baptist Church of Moore. Interment will follow at Moore City Cemetery, Moore, OK. Services are under the direction of the John M. Ireland Funeral Home, Moore, OK.

Operation Smile Featured in “A Cure to War . . . six degrees of humanity ”

Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?
—Abraham Lincoln


During Dr. Bill Magee’s appearance at Imaging USA in New Orleans, he referred briefly to Operation Smile’s role in helping to repatriate the remains of U.S. POWs from Vietnam. Last fall this remarkable story was recounted in a 30-minute film, narrated by Craig T. Nelson, of “Coach” fame. It portrays the drama of the unlikely behind-the-scenes story that led up to Operation Smile’s 1989 mission to Vietnam and how it softened the hearts of former enemies and ultimately led to the normalization of between the U.S. and Vietnam. Here’s a summary of the film:

A Cure to War” uniquely weaves the stories of seven individuals, whose independent efforts would help to rebuild relations between Vietnam and the United States, recover the remains of soldiers lost in the Vietnam War, and bring smiles to tens of thousands of Vietnamese children and their families by providing access to free surgical healthcare.


In 1989, President Ronald Reagan and General John Vessey sent the largest group of Americans into Vietnam since the fall of Saigon in 1975. They weren’t soldiers, but surgeons. An Operation Smile team of 38 medical professionals – including seven Vietnam War combat veterans – were part of a MIA/POW initiative to return the remains of soldiers lost during the Vietnam War. During the medical mission, they worked with Vietnamese surgeons to provide free reconstructive surgery for more than 100 Vietnamese children who suffered from clefts.

Bridging stories from both present-day Vietnam and historical accounts leading up to Operation Smile’s historic 1989 medical mission, “A Cure to War” reveals the emotional and political roller coaster of how a children’s charity and its medical volunteers opened the doors to normalization when so many other efforts had failed.

Since that first 1989 mission, when surgical teams were limited to operating only when electricity was available for 2 hours per day, Operation Smile has touched the lives of 30,000 children in Vietnam. If you watch the film, you’ll see young Duy, the child whom PPA member Graham Wilson photographed on his mission to Vietnam in 2009. Graham’s images are posted on the PPA Charities website at this link.


This inspiring film reminds us, as narrator Craig T. Nelson states: “Today, the simple smile of every child and family helped is a reminder of how the hard work of a small group of people can overcome decades of war and isolation and how a smile can bridge cultures and make friends of former enemies.” It also provides one more reason why PPA Photographers can be proud of their support of Operation Smile.

You can view the film at

China Operation Smile Video Features “Fix You”

At the January 15 “Power of Charity” platform program at Imaging USA in New Orleans, Dr. Bill Magee, cofounder of Operation Smile, played one of his favorite Operation Smile videos, which includes a Coldplay track “Fix You,” approved by the artists for use in Operation Smile’s global fundraising campaign. It’s a perfect background for featuring the mission and miracles performed by Operation Smile volunteers.