Lemuel Brian Finlay, born in Brownwood, Texas, loved Jesus and loved his family. Raised in a military home, Lem’s parents taught him and his brother Jakim the importance of faith in God and loyalty to those they loved. Lem’s high school years were filled with friends, soccer games, and daily talks with his grandmother, whom he lovingly called “Mom.”
Lem’s big personality matched his large frame and his frequent “Bear Hugs” made everyone smile. When Lem met his wife Dawn through mutual friends, she was drawn to his unassuming intelligence and his passion for life.
One day, while sitting at lunch with Dawn, a fire truck raced down the street. Lem looked at his wife and declared, “I want to become a fireman.” He immediately enrolled in training, but found that the Lord had other plans for his life. He never became fireman, instead he excelled as a medic and quickly advanced to the crew chief of the B crew working in the EMSTAT ambulance service. He led his team well and loved family dinners with his crew.
During these years, Lem and Dawn were involved in their local church. Lem served as a small group leader for the eighth grade boys and loved investing in their lives. While on a missions trip to Mexico with the boys, Lem’s heart broke for those less fortunate and he became burdened for missions. In a journal entry from his trip, Lem wrote, “Finish strong.” These words became his mantra.
Lem’s career as a medic afforded him the opportunity to travel to Haiti on multiple missions trips alongside the students of The University of Oklahoma. Lem’s passion for helping others and his burden for missions were evident on these trips. Lem longed to get more involved in missions work each year. He understood the sacrifice of leaving his wife and children to serve others.
Eventually Lem became a helicopter medic with Mediflight where he poured his heart into serving the community and his team. He was extremely devoted to Dawn and his children, Jordan and Elias. Lem’s life ended suddenly while spending a day with his family at Lake Eufala in Oklahoma.
In honor of Lem’s love for people and his passion for missions, Dawn founded Love Like Lem, an organization dedicated to supporting other healthcare professionals in their endeavor to serve in missions. These professionals will be traveling with Medical Missions Outreach throughout 2018.
Through Love Like Lem, Medical Missions Outreach now uses a V-Scan on each trip. A v-scan is a pocket-size ultrasound device that enables medical professionals to easily view images at the point of care. Images are black and white and blood flow is seen in color. While in Nicaragua this summer, Dr. David Hurst, a pediatric cardiologist from Knoxville, TN, utilized the v-scan on a number of patients. One patient, a 6 month-old male with a history of a murmur, was determined to be perfectly healthy after his heart examination. Imagine the relief his parents felt to hear this news!
The v-scan may also be used by OB/Gyn physicians to visualize babies before they are born, or to examine reproductive organs for women’s healthcare. While in both Tanzania and Ivory Coast, MMO nurses gave several expectant mothers the opportunity to see their unborn children for the first time. Emergency room doctors, primary care providers and intensivists may also utilize the v-scan to view all major organs. With this new tool, Medical Missions Outreach is able to provide more accurate and efficient patient care.
Lem Finlay touched many thousands of lives during his brief time on earth. He finished strong and now his legacy continues. May we at Medical Missions Outreach continue to love like Lem as we point people to Jesus.