George Samson, Source of Kapampangan's Pride-A A +A
My Palm Notes
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
WHAT makes us Kapampangans proud?
Well, aside from culinary masterpieces and recipes, I would say that having a cabalen who occupies a position of influence and prestige would be a source of pride.
I am not just talking about outstanding past and present political leaders (like martyr Ninoy Aquino). I am talking about people who matter in various disciplines, especially those in humanitarian and community service.
Take George Samson for one, who hails from Magalang town.
He is the president and chief executive officer of World Medical Relief Inc. (WMRI) - a Detroit-based charitable institution that has been collecting and distributing medicines, medical equipment, medical supplies and similar items around the globe.
Heading an organization that has been helping the sick and the needy for the last half-decade or so is something. It means being instrumental in life-extending, life-changing, community-improving act that, I am sure of, is being acknowledged by leaders of states that WMRI has helped.
You see, WMRI has reached about 150 countries (or only about 40 short of member states of the United Nations) since its inception in 1953 by Irene Auberlin.
Today, Mr. Samson and the officers and staff of WMRI continue to fulfill the mandate to serve the poor, with under-developed and developing countries in its priority list.
The Philippines, undeniably, is a grateful beneficiary. Not because Mr. Samson is a Filipino but because our country is such a forlorn nation filled with indigents. People who are below the poverty line, people who cannot even provide decent meals on their tables, much more, medicines for their illnesses.
I have heard of stories where Governors and Mayors line up to WMRI office in Michigan, which, of course Mr. Samson could not just ignore.
One happy mayor is Edgardo Pamintuan of Angeles City who has just completed a 15-bed Dialysis Center. Machines and supplies (like filters) in this unit were donated by WMRI. The shipping was shouldered by the City Government while the building was funded by Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce.
In his visit to the Center last week, Mr. Samson saw the fruition of WMRI's efforts as well as its partnership with LGUs like Angeles City. No doubt about it, this Center will extend the lives of patients with renal problems. Some of them on absolute charity, I would presume.
I know how costly it is to undergo dialysis. Kidney failure is a rich man's illness, so a lot of people would say. Our family was nowhere in the bracket of the green thumbs, but we turn green whenever we saw our late mother infused with fresh blood - albeit really twisting our pockets.
The story of Angeles' Dialysis Center is replicated elsewhere, I believe.
Not only here in the Philippines but in other parts of the globe where WMRI has donated medicines, machines and medical supplies.
I believe that even in the district of Cong. Manny Pacquiao in Sarangani, WMRI's help is being relished by the poor.
You do not expect the multi-million dollar earnings of the world boxing champion to be funneled directly to medical needs of his constituents, do you? It would be unfair if we expect him to just give away his money. Besides, the man has many charitable deeds not only in Sarangani but also elsewhere.
With Pacquiao's gratefulness comes an equally noble act. The congressman, a celebrity that he is, has even agreed to appear on WMRI's fund-raising activities come September. And it is going to be fund-raising for the needy Americans.
Yes, you read right - Americans.
With the economic recession that has hit US for years now, there was a substantial cut of donations to charities like WMRI. The result was debilitating the program for locals or those based in continental US. The cutbacks have gravely affected WMRI's distribution of medicines, blankets, and other supplies it usually gives to shelters and communities.
And so, Mr. Samson has thought of raising funds to sustain the local program. It would have no less than Manny Pacquiao in a fund raising event in September where some 1,500 prospective benefactors and guests would be present.
The impact of this is not just on restoring WMRI's capacities for local donations. The significance of this is having Pacquiao -- a Pinoy, a third-world native - helping Americans get their much needed medicines through charities, through WMRI.
I believe this noble act as envisioned by Mr. Samson would also impact on the perception on Pinoys by Americans.
What great relief it is indeed if Americans would no longer see their little brown brothers as alms seekers, domestic helpers, as eluders of immigration agents, and what have you.
Our Cabalen George does not think only of helping our country through donations. He is also thinking about ways for Filipinos to create positive impact in the global community.
With all of his efforts and contribution to bring about changes in personal lives and communities, he deserves nothing but his countrymen's accolades and recognition.
This is one reason I am nominating him to award giving bodies like the The Outstanding Filipino Awards (TOFIL) by the Jaycees. TOFIL is TOYM awards for the 40-years-old and above. I hope that mayors and governors and the rest of people and organizations would join me in this move.
George V. Samson is truly a source of pride for Kapampangans, for Filipinos.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on June 08, 2011.