Oregon-based Sea Mercy sails medical supplies to remote islands

ELMIRA, Ore. - After years of sailing to islands around the South Pacific, Richard and Stephanie Hackett realized some of the world's most beautiful places are also the most neglected.

The entrepreneurs with a passion for sailing created a company last year called Sea Mercy. Their volunteers sail to remote islands to deliver donated medical supplies.

The need may be as vast as the ocean.

"When you think of Fiji, how many islands do you think is part of that island group?" Richard said. "There's actually 300. Of those 300, 150 are inhabited - and those are the ones we target."

They found a little help can go a long way.

"A lot of real simplistic things," Stephanie said, "like they got cut on their foot, and they have sores all the way up to their knees, the kids do ... and it just breaks your heart - it just breaks my heart to watch that."

Sea Mercy started with Tonga. The support for their efforts followed.

"This is something Richard had been thinking about for years, and finally we said, why not? Let's just try it, see what happens," Stephanie said, "and it's just kind of taken off."

By 2015, they hope to have four additional boats serving more islands.