A central Iowa man uses his ability to match up excess supplies with the demands of the needy to spread little bits of good will around the world. 73-year-old Bob Bauer of Ankeny is a basement waterproofer by trade, but this week he sent four semi-truckloads of school furniture to Mexico.Over the years, Bauer has built a word-of-mouth network of school leaders and doctors who keep him in the loop when there is something of value being thrown away — or when there’s a need. A year ago, he found out about a Native American reservation in South Dakota where the kids had no bicycles. He organized a collection and obtained 260 bikes which he took up himself.Bauer’s latest project has him getting two full sets of dental equipment from a retiring dentist in northwest Iowa, along with an X-ray machine, which will be shipped for free to the impoverished nation Romania. Bauer says he’s just got a knack for getting donated or obsolete medical or educational materials and finding a need for it somewhere else.This week’s shipment to Mexico included 900 surplus school desks, which an Iowa district was throwing out. Bauer says he’s made 32 “mission” trips in the past three years. The only thing he says he has trouble finding is time to do everything he wants to get done.
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