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Founder of Surgical Volunteers International

Tom Flood

Founder of Surgical Volunteers International

"I first met Tom on our first mission trip to Viet Nam, probably in the late 90’s. Tom Flood is one of those irrepressible individuals, who, when faced with a task to do, goes into it with all his heart and soul...and mouth.  No matter in what country SVI found itself working, Tom never learned a word of the host-country’s language, yet always managed to make himself understood...whether by unmistakable sign language (such as a forefinger across the the neck), or by simply raising his voice (in English) a few decibels. This was the business side of Tom...very little patience for the slow-moving or the incompetent...

Yet Tom had/has a soft side, not unlike butter in the hot Moroccan sun, when presented with a child with a deformity beyond description, and for whom our intervention might be his or her only chance for a half-way decent life...or maybe even life at all. Tom would somehow make things happen to take care of that child or person...either on-site with the mission, or in more complex cases, to arrange for care in a more capable facility, sometimes arranging for a trip to and care in the USA.

Even when his back was hurting and his feet were tired, Tom was always the last one to leave the OR or PAR for the night, making sure everyone was tucked in safely and all bleeding 

had stopped...or making sure that those amongst the first wave back to the hotel or home-base had time to put the beer on ice and open the box of chips.

It must be twenty-five years and that many countries in which Tom has worked and led his team on surgical missions. There must be hundreds, nay thousands...of people who owe their repaired lips and palates and burn repairs and repaired hernias and functional hand movements and on and on to the efforts and organizing skills of Tom Flood R.N., spirit and slave-driver of Surgical Volunteers International.

No matter what the urgent request, whether it be for a new suture at the end of a long day and there were no more sutures, or the need to go home quickly because of a death in the family, Tom Flood would make it happen. He was and still is the kind of person you would always want on your side, no matter where on Earth you are. The world is a much better place for Tom’s work in it.  It is time now for him to step back and view his work with pride, and indeed let someone else take over and pick up the reins...and maybe even speak more than one language!!!!

Congratulations Tom on work well done and your tireless leadership.  May you now enjoy your three-egg omelette with bacon and three pieces of toast in the comfort of your own easy chair."

- Michael Schafer, plastic surgeon

"My first surgical mission was in 1999 in Hanoi Vietnam, and since then, I’ve been hooked. At that point, I had been working in the operating room for 23 years and had served in the armed forces for a number of years, but nothing quite compares to doing a mission and knowing that you have contributed to changing a life.  I went on to volunteer in several other nonprofits, and in 2007, I started Surgical Volunteers International. I find the work to be satisfying, rewarding, and very enjoyable. My hope is that SVI will continue to positively change lives around the world."
- Tom Flood

Tom is a man with a big heart. His commitment to make this world a better place did not go unnoticed. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of this special humanitarian mission.

- Tim Hansen

Surgical RN, Houston 

Tom Flood gave not only me, but also many patients a chance to change our lives to become happier and more confident . I appreciate and thank him for his kindness and support. ! So happy to work with him and his team !


- Van Tuong

Surgical RN, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 

Tom, what you have started & accomplished for the care of needy children has been amazing. You should be extremely proud of Surgical Volunteers International


- Dennis Auzenne

Surgical RN, Houston 

It has been an honor and privilege to work with Tom on his medical missions. He has brought people together from all over the world and from many diverse cultures for the sole purpose of helping those who would otherwise never be helped


- Don Westheimer

Anesthesiologist, Houston 

Tom is a passionate giver and leader to promote a better life for others all over the world. He inspires us all. I was lucky to be a part of his endeavors.


- Young Soon Kim

CRNA, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, New York City 

Tom has a knack for bringing people together from a variety of backgrounds and making everyone feel like they are an important part of the group. And, his sense of humor is definitely unforgettable. What a wonderful thing he has created!


- Safa Sharabi

Plastic Surgeon, Denver 

I have had the wonderful privilege of working with Tom for many years. I started out thinking that I was working with him only to change other people's lives. His vision and his extraordinary organizing skills has done that for many people. But more than that, knowing Tom has made the biggest difference to my life. I admire him and love him and feel very grateful to him for everything he has been to us as a great team leader and to me as a very special person in my life.


- Rita Wangkhem

Surgical RN, India 

What you did in Mansoura is unbelievable. It is something like butterfly effect. I think every cleft patient we did in Mansoura and even in our missions you have the favor of him. Thanks Boss


- Mohamed Sherbiny

Pediatric surgeon, Mansoura Egypt 

Tom Flood could have spent his retirement on the golf course. But he wanted to see the world and make it better. Recruiting a surgical team, he would find a needy corner in the world, lead his team there and tirelessly fit the pieces together for success. We never knew what we would find but we knew Tom was unflappable, a courageous commander with a big heart.


- Michael Seitz

DDS from Cornwall, New York. 

I remember my first international trip with Tom and my dear friend Heidi Jerome—Mansoura, Egypt 2008. Although Tom CLEARLY was in charge and busy, he bothered to take care of me, the novice. I was amazed by the spirit of kindness, the camaraderie, combined with competence and humor. Tom hugged the kids, watched over the team, and seemed to be everywhere at the same time. Tom, thanks for inviting me to join your teams over and over again—each trip was distinct but the “same”: different environment with the predictable and consistent extraordinary generosity, insight, commitment, tempered with smiles and hugs. Because of your mentorship, I am confident in international arenas. Because of you, I eagerly venture to new sites to volunteer with the incredible organization that you created and nurtured. Thanks Tom—you inspired all who have joined you on these volunteer trips—especially me.


- Claire Brett

Pediatric anesthesiologist, San Francisco 

Tom Flood is by all means exceptional. He is a loving and caring person that has spent most of his years serving children all over the world. What makes him special is that he does all that without any ulterior motives. It has been my pleasure to share with him in different missions.

I wish that there were more men like him making the world a better place.


- Adham Elsaied

HOD ped. Surg. Department Mansoura University, Egypt. 

Tom is the hero for us. You bring many smiles and save many people around the world. I feel very excited to work with you and volunteer around the world .Thank you so much.


- Se Makethy

Surgeon, Preah Vihear, Cambodia