Dr. Paul A. Getty - 1987 A Award Recipient
Bio from 1987:
From the industrial north, a young man made his way to Kentucky in search of an education. Like his father, he chose Asbury College.
While a student, Dr. Paul A. Getty sensed God’s call to be a medical missionary. He accelerated his studies and elected to forfeit his senior year in exchange for early admissions to the University of Michigan Medical School. The Late Dr.Cecil Hamann, advisor to pre-med students, once compared him during his college days to a “sponge soaking up every bit of information offered” in the classroom.
An internship in Ann Arbor and three years of surgical residency in Dayton, Ohio, prepared him for his appointment by the Methodist Church to Liberia, West Africa. After a term at the school of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in England, Dr. Getty, along with his family, was appointed to the city of Ganta, where he served as the medical director of the Methodist Hospital.
Deeply moved by patients crippled with leprosy, he was determined to fight Africa’s most feared disease. Additional training at the Leprosy Rehabilitation and Treatment Center in Vellore, India, and a residency in General Surgery in Akron, Ohio, provided the skills and knowledge necessary to perform a revolutionary surgical procedure to make the lame walk and the leper clean. Dr. Getty rerouted nerve endings to overcome paralysis in the diseased tissues. He also designed a plastic hand as a model to demonstrate how reconstructive surgery could restore the function of a patient’s appendage.
On occasion, Dr. Getty put aside his scalpel to assist in evangelism in the Liberian church. Often he played the piano or organ at the hospital chapel while his wife, Betty Jean, served as soloist or music director.
While a student at Asbury, Dr. Getty developed a keen interest in gymnastics. Few who saw him perform with our tumbling team and on his unicycle would have believed that they were watching one who would be even more of a pioneer in reconstructive surgery and nerve transplants.
The college community will remember the 1987 Jym Jamoree, which featured at intermission a parade of unicycles, each hand-crafted by this surgeon. A three-wheel unicycle, another eight feet tall, and a juggling and skip-rope act aboard such fascinating machines all entertained the crowds. Perhaps Dr. Getty sees a working resemblance between the human anatomy and the unicycle. At least, he has passionate interest in both.
At the time of receiving the “A” Award, this gifted gentleman continued to serve in Christ’s name through his medical practice at the Preston Memorial Hospital in West Virginia. Active in the church, both as musician and member of the Conference Board of Global Ministries, a host of congregations within Methodism have heard the passionate concerns of missions from this layman.