Dr Trevor Smith and Mrs Heather Smith were Carey parents from 1981 to 1986 when their sons, Graeme and Murray Smith, attended the School. Trevor himself was a Carey student from 1955 to 1960.
Before, during and after their time as Carey parents until the present day both Trevor and Heather have served leprosy sufferers in Thailand and in other parts of South East Asia.
They arrived in Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand in 1969, Trevor a recent medical graduate from the University of Melbourne, Heather a young teacher, and Graeme, aged 6 months. With no prior experience and no language the McKean Rehabilitation Institute became their workplace and their home.
As well as looking after baby Graeme, Heather also taught at the local Thai school, learning the language and building relationships with the locals that continue today. Over the last 33 years she has taken on many roles within the McKean Institute and also in local education, craft and church based activities. For that past 10 years, Heather has been the Assistant Director of the McKean Rehabilitation Centre and chair of the Chiang Mai International School Board.
After nearly 34 years of tireless commitment to the people of South East Asia, the Smiths have made a major contribution to the transformation of the McKean Institute from a leprosy mission to a comprehensive rehabilitation hospital that caters for a wide range of illnesses and emergency cases. The Smiths have played a pivotal role in freeing Thailand from what was a major struggle with leprosy.
Trevor continues to make regular trips into outlying areas of Thailand conducting clinics for patients who cannot travel to Chiang Mai and he frequently treats up to 50 patients a day. According to the Institute’s records, he has cared for over 6000 leprosy patients. He has also taught Thai medical and dental students from Chiang Mai University as well as training leprosy workers from surrounding countries.
In 1975 His Majesty the King of Thailand presented Dr Smith with one of Thailand’s most significant awards, the ‘Order of the White Elephant’ in recognition of his contribution to the wider Thai community.