Bulletin Staff Report
DEL RIO - Dr. Stephen P. Kelly of Brownwood, who with his staff has been performing volunteer ophthalmology work at a border clinic since 1990, will represent Mexico and Ciudad Acuña at this year’s Fiesta de Amistad.
Each year, Del Rio and Ciudad Acuña alternate choosing a Mr. Amistad to preside over the fiesta’s events, and Kelly was chosen by Mexico for the honor.
“I am very honored and humbled to be selected as Mr. Amistad for 2008,” Kelly said in a e-mail.
Kelly has been performing volunteer ophthalmology work in Mexico since 1988 and has been going to Acuña since 1990. With the help of members of the Acuña Amistad Lions Club International and District 2-A1 Lions Clubs in Texas, he was involved in the planning and opening of the Acuña Amistad Lions Club International Ophthalmology Clinic in Ciudad Acuña.
Kelly and his staff from his Brownwood office have gone to the clinic every year since it opened to perform volunteer work. Patients with more difficult cases are taken to Brownwood for treatment with the help of Acuña Amistad Lions Club members.
Kelly has also performed volunteer work in Haiti and Africa.
“Acuña is very fortunate to have the selfless, generous, dedicated members of the Acuña Lions Club International Chapter who do so much for the poor and visually impaired in the Acuña area,” Kelly said.
The fiesta, which features activities all month, opened with the Miss Del Rio Pageant Oct. 9. The annual Abrazo Ceremony, the festival’s signature event, will be held this afternoon at Amistad Dam, featuring dignitaries from both sides of the border.
The Grand International Parade will be held Saturday morning, and is said to be the only parade that begins in one country and ends in another. An arts and crafts fair, bicycle and foot race and other activities will be held this weekend.
Kelly became a Melvin Jones Fellow in Lions Club International in 1994, and he is a life member of the District 2-A1 Lions Eye Bank. He was named the Outstanding Lion of the district in 2007.
In Brownwood, Kelly is co-chair of the Military Affairs/Legislative Committee of the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce, and received the Department of the Army’s Commander Award for Public Service in April 2007. He was chosen as an “admiral” in the Texas Navy in 1992. He serves on Congressman Mike Conaway’s Military Service Academy Nominating Committee, and was the chamber of commerce “Man of the Year” in 2000.
Kelly has been practicing ophthalmology in Brownwood since 1980. He and his wife of 38 years, Sandi, have three children. They manage the Kelly Family Foundation that awards scholarships to Brownwood High School students and gives grants to Brownwood youth organizations.