37 Missions Since 2006!
Tens of Thousands Helped!
Join Us For Future Missions!
Doctors, Nurses, Lay Staff, Clergy
Deacon Santiago A. Rosado, MD, MA, FACP, FACG, FOMI - Executive Director
Deacon Rosado (Chago) was born and raised in Puerto Rico. He completed medical school at the Ponce School of Medicine in Ponce, Puerto Rico. In 1985, he married his beloved Wilma and together they moved to Cleveland where he did his residency on internal medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Chago’s fellowship in gastroenterology was completed at the Guthrie Clinic in Sayre, PA. Later, he became a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and Fellow of the American College of Gastroenterology.
Chago moved to St. Augustine, Florida in 1991 and joined the practice of GI Associates of St. Augustine. He was the primary leadership in growing the practice from two to eight physicians. He served as President of GI Associates of St. Augustine and St. Augustine Endoscopy Center.
Chago and Wilma have been blessed with three sons and three grandchildren. All work and live in St. Augustine. His family is the greatest blessing that God has bestowed upon him. Next to God, his family is the key source of his inspiration and motivation in life.
In 2007, Santiago went to his first medical mission to Honduras with Friends of the Missions. Since then, he has participated in 2-3 missions per year as a volunteer doctor, initially, and then as medical director to Honduras, Jamaica, Peru, Colombia, Guyana, Puerto Rico (Hurricane Maria), Liberia and Mongolia. He helped develop and ultimately led the mission to Tanzania.
Chago was ordained deacon of the Catholic Church in 2015 and serves at the San Sebastian Church in St. Augustine, FL. In addition to the six years of studies required for the deaconate, he concurrently completed a Masters Degree in Theology at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN.
Chago has developed on line theology Spanish courses to The Camino Program of the Notre Dame University (Introducción a las Cartas de San Pablo) and for San Sebastian Church (weekly). He has translated three of the biblical courses of Dr. Scott Hahn to Spanish at Steubenville University. These have been distributed through Central and South America and Spain.
In 1998, Chago helped establish the indigent Clinic the Good Samaritan (aka. Wild Flower) in St. Augustine and since then has been providing volunteer medical services through the clinic. Chago is a member of the Board of St. Gerald House (for unwed mothers). He serves also on various diocesan boards for formation of deacon aspirants, new deacons and in the National Sanctuary of La Virgen de la Leche in St. Augustine.
God’s mercy and love are the pillars of Friends of the Missions!
Jacob Schroeder - Executive Director Emeritus, Mission Expert Consultant, FOMI
In 1995 I co-founded Friends of the Mission through which we have been able to assist some 70,000 people in 13 countries. I have served as the missions executive director for the last several years. My work experience and background prepared me for this welcome challenge. In particular;
After Amos Tuck, specializing in marketing, I joined Jewel companies. Here, as a new hire, I reviewed some of the companies’ operating strategies. Most of the changes that I suggested were ultimately followed. I became a principal of a start-up division, discovering a way to make money in the Chicago beer market and introducing Corona Beer to the U.S. I later was named Bakery Merchandiser and increased sales by over 50%. I also paved the way for Thomas English Muffins to span the country. I moved to American Stores, where I turned sales and profits around through a series of award-winning special promotions. Later, I bought into and saved from bankruptcy, Land Restoration Corporation, a sewage plant service company that land applied treated sewage sludge. I joined La Tulip Associates, where I worked as a recruiter for ten years before going on my own for a number of years. I have a wonderful wife, four children (two boys, two girls) ten grandchildren, all of whom, unfortunately, live far away.
Rev Father Heriberto Vegara - Chaplain, Friends of the Missions, FOMI
Ordination date: October 11, 1986.
Place of Ordination: Roldanillo Valle, Colombia.
Workplaces: 1986- Present Day
- (1986-1987) Bajo Cauca, misión zone (1 year)
- (1988) Diocese of St. Martha, St. Martha, Magdalena, Colombia, Vocational promoter.
- (1989-1990) Archdiocese of Popayan, Cauca, Colombia, Seminary profesor.
- (1990-1996) Habana, Cuba, rector of the Church “Our Lady of the Merced”, superior of the provincial house, parish priest of the Holy Spirit , superior of economy, director and vocational promoter.
- (1997-1999) Santiago de Cuba, rector superior of ST Francis Church, and vocational promoter.
- (2001) Baracoa, parish prest at Nuestra Señora de la Asunción.
- (2000-2003) Habana, Cuba, Rector of the church Our Lady of Merced, superior of the provincial house, economy of the house, director, and vocational promoter.
- (2003-2005) Crescent City, parish priest of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Sacred Heart in Jacksonville, St. Joseph; Palm Coast, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, spiritual director of Hispanic youth group of the Diocese of St. Augustine-Fl.
- (2006) Parochial vicar Blessed Trinity Church.
- (2007-2012) Parochial vicar San Jose Catholic Church.
- (2013-2017) Parochial vicar San Sebastian Catholic Church.
- (2018- Present) Pastor St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Crescent City, Fl.
- (2005-2011) Spiritual director, diocesan catholic charismatic renewal.
- (2012-Present) Spiritual director of Christianity cursilla.
- (1999-2000) Degree in catechetics. Institute San Pio X, University of Pontificia of Salamanca, Espain.
- (1990-2000) Social media courses (145 hours)
- (2006-2008) Pastoral study in the SEPI (completed 180 hours)
- (2015-2017) Master’s degree in marriage and family, University of Navarra- Pamplona Espain.
Charles DeVirgilio - Treasurer, FOMI
Charlie retired in 2008 from The Timken Company after more than 33 years serving in a variety of roles in both the bearing and the steel divisions. Among those, he held senior management positions including managing director/president of a number of Timken’s international subsidiaries and as senior human resource & organizational development director for the steel division and for Europe, Africa and Western Asia. He has lived in worked in numerous locations around the world including Italy, France, Romania, Poland, India and England.
Charlie has degrees in Psychology (BA-Ohio State University), Business Administration (MBA-Xavier University & EPBA-Columbia University) and the Law (JD-Capital University Law School). After retirement he became certified as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT); in TEFL/TESL (Teaching English as a Foreign/Secondary Language); and as a Tax Specialist for H&R Block.
Charlie went on his first mission with Friends of the Missions in 2011 to Tanzania and has since been on missions to Jamaica, Columbia, Guyana, Peru and Mongolia. He joined the Friends’ Board and became its Treasurer in 2018. He has also been a volunteer in the American Red Cross, Croce Rossa Italia, and numerous other community activities. He is currently a member of the Knights of Columbus at San Sebastian Catholic Church and resides in both Florida and Italy. He has 3 sons, 4 granddaughters and 2 great-grandchildren.
Greg Hemsoth - Mission Organization and Fund-Raising, FOMI
Greg lives in St. Augustine, FL and has been a resident of FL for over 30 years. Originally from NW Ohio, he has been married to Diane for almost 45 years. They are the proud parents of twin daughters, who are married. Greg and Diane have one grandchild, a boy, who will be 3 years old soon. Greg's role as grandfather has been a blessing. Mission work will always be his passion, as it makes him strong in our Lord Jesus!
After graduating from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, Greg taught high school English and American Studies before marrying Diane. They moved to Orange County, CA where Greg worked for a major yearbook printing company in sales and management in CA, IN and FL for almost 40 years. He retired in 2008, but continued his on the ground mission work in Honduras. To date, Greg has led 12 medical missions to Honduras, including 2 summer missions. Helping Friends of the Missions, Inc. with organization and fund-raising for the medicines and medical equipment we take to the poor people around the world has been Greg's offerings, in the Name of Jesus. Greg has served on the Board of Directors of Friends of the Missions, Inc. for 14 years. He is grateful for all people, who have helped the mission effort of Friends. He is thankful to God for leading him into the mission fields. Greg's favorite saying is:
"Everyone can be a missionary. We have people who pray and volunteer and go on a mission. We have people who pray and donate their time, talents and treasures to the missions. Those "at home" missionaries are vital to our success. Both groups are needed. The poor people in need of health care are the grateful beneficiaries. Praise God for both groups!!!"
Greg is a member of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish and also serves as a leader on other missionary based groups in the Diocese of St. Augustine. These include: Board member of the House of Prayer and Evangelization, Planning Group for the Diocesan Renewal and the OLGC Parish Haiti Mission Committee.
Greg's great joy was when his wife and twins were able to work with our medical team on a few missions to Honduras. Greg and Diane's twins are both medical professionals now. God is Good!!!
Dr. Mike Carlson - Mission Doctor, FOMI
Dr. R. Michael Carlson or “Dr. Mike” is a Florida native and currently resides in Jacksonville with his loving wife, Patricia. Combined, they have three children, all residing in Jacksonville, as does his mother and his mother in law (part time). After graduating from the University of Florida, Dr. Mike attended medical school at the University of Miami. Residency was done in New Jersey and shortly afterwards he returned to Jacksonville where he has been practicing medicine for thirty years.
He is located at Memorial Hospital of Jacksonville and is a Cardiac Anesthesiologist .
Involvement in Friends of the Missions began around fifteen years ago after responding to an article in the St. Joseph’s Church bulletin. Roughly twenty mission trips later, he is still actively involved, has made many trips to Honduras and Africa, and has organized surgical missions. The local hospital in Yoro, Honduras is a pet project for Dr. Mike, where supplies, monitors, defibrillators and surgical equipment have been provided through the years.
“I typically feel that I get more out of these trips than what we actually give. It has been very fulfilling and rewarding and I hope to continue to be active for years to come. It’s a real eye-opener for anyone who hasn’t been to some of these remote locations. The extreme poverty and the lack of basic needs like clean water and food, basic medical care, and safe living conditions can be very moving. It is a powerful reminder of how blessed we are here. I would invite anyone who is interested to contact one of us for more information. We can always use more help. Thanks…”, Dr. Mike Carlson.
Regan Flemming - Social Media Leader, Board Secretary, Lay Missionary, FOMI
Regan is a graduate of Lewis University in Lockport, IL. In addition, he possesses an MBA from University of Illinois at Springfield, IL. He worked at Caterpillar for 36 years, with a final assignment of VP Supply Chain and Purchasing, Electro Motive, CAT Rail Division. In addition to working full-time at Caterpillar, Regan and his wife Cathy owned and operated three private businesses tied to real estate, home design and internet service.
Regan served in the USARMY Reserves achieving the rank of 1st Lieutenant. His retirement time is spent enjoying the simple things of life missed during a typical, demanding career and missionary work with Friends of the Missions. He has participated in one mission to Peru and three to the Honduras. Along with his current board assignment, Regan serves on the board of the Lands End HOA located in St Augustine, FL.
Regan and Cathy permanently reside in St. Augustine, FL and are members of San Sebastian Catholic Church. They enjoy much of their time in the Cashiers, NC area as well. Born in Detroit, he is the paternal leader of 4 wonderful children and their spouses, and 10 beloved grandchildren.
Dr. Daniel Ripley - Mission Doctor, FOMI
My mission is to provide the very best healthcare available in a caring and empathetic manner. I believe that there is an art to medicine as well as a science and that warmth, sympathy and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug. Listening to my patients is one of my strongest attributes and an invaluable diagnostic tool. I am also a strong proponent of the prevention of disease through healthy lifestyle choices so that my patients may live happier more active lives!
Jim Mathews - Lay Missionary, FOMI
Jim graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from UNF. A Florida CPA, Jim worked at Arthur Young, Charter Oil, CSX, Haskell, E&Y, Arthur Andersen, PWC, as an Independent Consultant, and is currently retired. He and his wife Paula have two daughters and five grandchildren.
Some 15 years ago, he heard about the Honduras Medical Mission at St. Joseph’s Participation Sunday, since then he has been on 13 medical missions and a surgical mission. Our medical missions focus on medical, dental, pharmacy, and eyeglasses. “I have consistently worked as a dental assistant, because I enjoy interacting with the people we serve. Since electricity and running water is scarce in the villages, we pull teeth, instead of filling and drilling. I hold a flashlight, gauze pads, and maneuver a waste can. Sometimes, I position an adult’s head, other times; I am holding or comforting a child. It is the most rewarding experience”.
In an effort to sustain additional long-term benefits, Jim successfully worked with the City of Yoro to budget and implement a clean water project. In addition, over a three-year period, Jim worked with a team of engineers, lawyers, the City of Yoro, and local businesses to plan and design a waste to energy plant. He joined the Honduras Energy Congress in Tegucigalpa to become informed and learn about the power grid opportunities. Unfortunately, the project stalled as they tried to secure 50% local funding.
Jim was the team lead for the February 2020 mission to Honduras.
“Thank God for all the many dedicated volunteers, missionaries, and charitable groups who help make these mission trips to Honduras successful”.