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N.M. OD helps others see through the smoke

August 14, 2012

Terry Marquardt, O.D., and staff member Chrissie Kenaston are wowed at the arrival of the palette of eyedrops from Alcon Laboratories.

The primary goal of Terry Marquardt, O.D., and his practice in Alamogordo, N.M., is to improve the quality of life of patients. So when the Little Bear wildfire sprung to life in the Lincoln National Forest last month, Marquardt Eye Associates put that goal into action.

Local news agencies estimate more than 1,300 firefighters and support personnel were on the scene fighting the hard-to-contain blaze.

High winds and hot temperatures added even more challenges to the job, leaving responders’ eyes red and irritated from the smoke.

A staff member at Marquardt Eye Associates heard an advertisement on a local radio station seeking donations for those impacted by the wildfire. Both victims and firefighters were in need of food, water, blankets and eyedrops.

This inspired the staffer, who prefers to remain anonymous, to ask Dr. Marquardt to lend a hand.

Donations for wildfire victims were pouring in from around the state, but the firefighters seemed to be forgotten.

That’s why she asked Dr. Marquardt if she could use part of her time in the office to help the firefighting effort. The doctor agreed, and she started making calls, looking for donations.

“I have always felt that individuals and independent businesses can make a difference in the lives of our friends and neighbors in need,” said Dr. Marquardt, who is also a former New Mexico state representative. “Alcon Laboratories also has been a great partner in this effort, responding immediately to our call and with such a significant contribution.”

Alcon Laboratories and Marquardt Eye Associates teamed up to donate an entire pallet of eyedrops to the cause.

“I am so proud of how our staff saw a need, met the challenge, and delivered needed help and services to guard and protect the eye health of our firefighters,” said Dr. Marquardt.

Forest officials say the fire has burned more than 200 residential structures and 10 outbuildings.

Members of the community like Dr. Marquardt and his staff said they are glad Ruidoso residents know there is someone looking out for them in their time of need.

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