The Jean-Pierre Tchang Award was created in 2009 to recognize one of our volunteers each year for his or her outstanding involvement with IRIS Mundial. For the year 2024, the award was presented to Mr. Denis Allard, Director of Information Technology at IRIS and IRIS Mundial volunteer since 2018. The award was presented to him at the volunteer meeting held on Saturday June 8. On this occasion, several people offered him beautiful testimonials.

Dr. Francine Lavallée, a long-time friend of Denis, offered a wonderful testimonial full of touching anecdotes and truths. “Denis had been interested in IRIS Mundial projects for a long time when he said yes to his first mission. He had stars in his eyes when we told him about our missions, about helping people in need, about the challenges involved, and I think that despite not being a healthcare professional, he was really looking at how he could get involved. Denis had often discussed with Jean-Pierre Tchang the possibility of computerizing the form where we enter the results of patients on mission,” Francine recounts. It was in 2018 that Denis developed his application, which, it has to be said, has changed the way we carry out our missions. Some of the advantages highlighted by Francine include more legible and therefore more accurate data, and the ability to draw up statistics without having to transcribe the data of 2,000 patients on their return, “not to mention the wet and unhygienic forms handled by patients during the circuit!“. Denis has devoted several hundred hours to developing, improving and updating this software, not to mention the time he spends on returning from missions to draw up statistics that will give us a better idea of the needs for future projects! Denis took part in the missions to Senegal in 2018 and Gabon in 2024. His role was, of course, to ensure that everything was running correctly with the application – quite challenging, especially with the repeated power cuts we experienced in Gabon! But Denis kept his cool under all circumstances, without stressing or getting worked up, restarting the system or finding a solution to a particular problem. During his two missions, Denis also acted as an orchestra conductor, smoothing the flow of patients and ensuring that the workflow was as efficient as possible. He always played his role to perfection, contributing unquestionably to the success of the missions. Francine tells us with a touch of humor: “Denis is also a perfect example of kindness, politeness and delicacy, both with partners in the field and with his colleagues, but he’s also a very rigorous conductor, making sure that everyone works tirelessly. When there were too many patients waiting in a station, he had the solution: he’d come and get me with his whip and send me where it was busier and make me work where there was too much waiting. Okay, there was no whip… but there was a lot of insistence in his eyes!

Mrs Mihaela Mara-Somogyi in turn made a speech to Denis, underlining the added value that his software brings to our missions, and in particular to the station where the glasses are delivered: there can be no doubt about the prescription, and Mihaela and the other opticians are able to efficiently deliver the pairs of glasses to the patients. She also emphasized the pleasure of being in his company. His optimism, light-heartedness and professionalism undeniably brighten up our missions!  Finally, Mr. Éric Babin, President of IRIS, paid a last little tribute to him, underlining how, in his two-three years as a volunteer with IRIS Mundial, he had certainly accomplished as much work as some volunteers do in ten years!

Thank you, dear Denis, for who you are and for your boundless commitment!