MASON CITY | Ann MacGregor has had a life full of interesting voyages, both literally and figuratively.

Best known in North Iowa for her work in establishing a hospice in-patient unit and later for helping restore the old Park Inn Hotel, MacGregor set out on a real voyage more than 50 years ago that helped shape the rest of her life.

She was a nurse in a program called Project Hope, a hospital ship with a mission to sail to developing countries with a medical, dental and therapy staff that would help train and educate staffs in countries they visited. The 100-bed hospital ship provided a clinical setting for the educational focus.

MacGregor was on Project Hope's first voyage and by the fifth voyage she was the chief nurse.

Today she has written a book about those times. Self-published, "Letters of Hope" details her experiences going to Indonesia, Vietnam, Peru, Ecuador, Guinea, West Africa and Nicaragua between 1960 and 1966, tending to the medical needs of thousands of men, women and children.

MacGregor said she wrote to her mother often while she was on those voyages, and her mother saved all of her letters. In time, MacGregor retrieved them from her mother and didn't think much about them until she was rummaging through a garage last summer and found them.

Her good friend, Gerry Schwarz, convinced her to use the letters to write a book about her experiences. The result a year later is "Letters of Hope."

MacGregor said she is making arrangements to have the book sold commercially. In the meantime, anyone who wants a copy can contact her at 641-423-2270 or at The price is $30.