My first visit to the Orphanage was in March of 2001. It was one of many scheduled stops on a two-week tour of Vietnam with a group of veterans. That visit was a profound and life changing event for me.
We arrived at the Orphanage in the morning and we given a brief guided tour of the Old Wooden Church and the grounds. It was when we visited the nursery that I vowed to be involved with the Orphanage for life.
We were looking around the nursery, taking pictures when a toddler about 3 years old walked up to me and took my little finger in his tiny fist. He looked up at me with the kindest, gentlest expression I have ever seen. At that moment I knew I had to do something to make life better for him and the other children there. I think of that moment often and have nothing but questions about what he was thinking and feeling. Was he being polite? Was it out of love? Was he trying to comfort me? I will never have the answer to these questions but they are always with me.
He will never know the impact of this simple act. He is a product of his environment and all he has ever known at the Orphanage is kindness and love, so he acted accordingly, and won my support and commitment forever.
I am 62 years old and a retired executive in telecommunications. I am not a veteran of Vietnam but was in and out of the Army by 1964. I am not a member of the Catholic Church, so my involvement in the Orphanage transcends any organizational ties and my interest is purely humanitarian.
I have visited the Orphanage in 2003 and again in 2005. I will continue to support the Orphanage through my involvement on the Board and future visits. This is one of the most worthwhile and rewarding projects I have ever undertaken.