Troy man among volunteers who help Belize locals


By Eamon Baird

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TROY — In January, Troy resident Jason Rhoads traveled with a group of nurses and other volunteers for an annual mission trip to help improve the lives of Belize locals.

Rhoads is a registered nurse who started attending missions for “Partners for Belize” in January 2018.

“We have two nursing teams that go to villages, and then we have a construction crew, and they usually build a house within four or five days,” Rhoads said.

He pays $2,200 for the week-long trip, which includes airfare, lodging, and food. Rhoads explained to Miami Valley Today what a typical day is for volunteers on the trip.

“We all meet for breakfast in the morning and then split up. We have eight vans taking us to the the villages. So, the nursing teams assess a lot of the patients and then send them to a position on the surgery,” Rhoads said.

Many of the citizens of Belize are treated for ear, nose, and throat ailments. Rhoads said the people there have never even seen a Q-tip. He said they would treat 300 or more people a day in years past, but this year, it was around 125 people.

“We don’t know if it’s because it’s an election year, or what,” he said. “But our job in Belize to do this is not for them to rely on us, is for us to get them self-sufficient.”

This year, the construction crew built two houses, including a new home for a family of 13 people.

Rhoads said a special thing about these trips is that they are like reunions, where he catches up with people he hasn’t seen in a year.

“It’s changed my life forever. It’s been so — these people are just the best. I’ve never met people so nice; it’s always amazing,” he said.

On one of his first trips to Belize, Rhoads met Isaias Rax, a young boy who lived in the village nearby.

“I met him when he was 10 years old. I took a fishing pole the first year. And this kid would meet me when we were done for the day. And when I left, I left him with my fishing pole. Every time I go, I leave a fishing pole. So, he’s become a real good friend of mine,” Rhoads said.

On the last day of the trip, Rhoads said they get to have a fun day, like scuba diving, cave tubing, or visiting the Mayan Ruins, but this year, Rhoads decided to do something different.

“I decided I was going to be with Isaias, and he said to me, ‘Hey, let’s go the construction crew; we’ll help them out,’” Rhoads said.

“My favorite part is the reveal of the house. When you see a family of eight or 10 living in something like that, and see the hard work these guys did in four days. It’s probably the most fulfilling,” he said.

In addition to being an RN, Rhoads is a guitar player and founding member of the Miami County band Rusted Reserve, established in November 2019. The band includes his 16-year-old son Braylon on drums, Jason Forsythe as the lead singer, and Eric Bauman on bass.

Rusted Reserve is opening for 38 Special on Saturday, Feb. 24, at Hobart Arena in Troy.

Anyone interested in participating in Partners for Belize can fill out the application at

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