A Throwback Thursday Blog…sort of

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 5.24.01 PM  A Throwback Thursday Blog…sort of

In June we held our 7th annual Golf Tournament at the Pinehurst Resort. During our closing celebration and awards banquet Dr. Robyn Hakanson addressed our guests. Here are her remarks.

Welcome. Bon Soir and Bienvenue!

As you are all aware, we are headed to the Congo in 3 weeks. I’d like to begin with a little story from my first visit to the Congo last summer.

Congo is a French-speaking country. Having studied French for several years in high school and college, I was excited to try to speak French, even though I’ve had little to no opportunity to speak the language in the past many years. Our first night in the Congo, Mr. Mutombo and his wife took us to a restaurant where we experienced typical Congolese food. Anxious to try out my French, I went through the buffet asking the servers about each item that was being served. Qu’est-ce que c’est? Poulet. Chicken. Oui. Les haricots verts. Green beans.  Oui. Qu’est-ce que c’est? CHENILLE…hmmm (What in the world is chenille? Oh well, it’s probably some kind of vegetable….) Oui!  When I returned to my table with my plate and starting eating I again encountered the Chenille and thought it would be nice to know what I was actually about to eat. Rose, Qu’est-ce que c’est? I asked of Mrs. Mutombo. She responded, Oh that’s one of my favorites. It’s caterpillar! Always one to embrace a new experience, I tried it…and it wasn’t bad!

[Thank you to all of our sponsors, volunteers, golfers and their families. ]

The late Muhammed Ali once said, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” And we believe this to be true.

When these amazing ladies and I got together for the very first time ten years ago, we knew that together we could create something special. Tonight as I stand here before you I believe we have succeeded in that quest. Now headed into our fourth trip, we have provided free joint replacement surgery for countless deserving patients.  We have donated a computer lab in Guatemala that is still in use and fostered a relationship with an elementary school in the US that exists to this day.  We have ensured that orphans in Tanzania have clothing, shoes and technology, brought sports equipment and jerseys to children around the globe. We have trained physicians, nurses and physical therapists in techniques that will help them serve their people long after we have left their country. We have shown little girls in Nepal that anything is possible for them, even becoming a doctor. In short, we served.

Nous avons servi. What is service?

Service for NBA Hall of Fame legend Dikembe Mutombo is building the first new hospital in his homeland in 40 years, believing that to whom much is given, much is required. For me service is giving up time with family and friends to operate on a diseased knee, at no cost to the patient, restoring mobility to a woman who is severely limited, yet greatly needed by her family. Service is administering anesthesia, putting pain medicine in a patient’s IV, holding her hand as you teach her to walk again. Service is pushing a stretcher up a ramp when the elevator is broken. Service is cleaning dirty surgical instruments late into the night so that they will be clean for the next day’s surgeries, and service is loading 9000 lbs of inventory onto a truck.

Service is driving 500 miles with a U-haul full of donated walkers, canes and wheelchairs. Service is keeping a website running, allowing friends, family, patients and colleagues to know what we do and how they can help. Service is making sure we wake up to new Facebook and Instagram updates, inspiring others with our work and spreading our message. Service is buying plane tickets and booking hotels, herding 50 tired servants onto the bus.  Service is designing and printing the lovely programs you have in front of you tonight, and service is learning a foreign language so we can best serve our patients.  Service is fitting an orphan with his very first pair of new shoes.

In short, we all serve. Nous servons tous.

Service starts with hearing the voice, the voice that asks, “Can you help me?” Pouvez-vous m’aider?

Many times I’ve heard the question asked, can you help me, and the answer is so often “yes.” Oui, je peux.

The next question becomes, WILL you help me? Voulez-vous m’aider? Would you go out of your way to help another?  I hope the answer is Yes. Oui.

You can help. You can serve. Service is coming to the annual WOGO golf tournament, no matter where in the country it is held. Service is donating knee implants and surgical equipment, giving grants. Service can be donating your vacation home for our silent auction, or your airline miles to offset the cost of travel. Service is donating and creating those beautiful baskets in our silent auction. Tonight service is buying raffle tickets.  Making a donation. Bidding generously on those beautiful silent auction items, and service is out-bidding Rich Banten on that surgeons’ choice wine basket. 🙂

Service is praying for our team’s safety and success as well as for those being served.  Vous pouvez servir. You can serve.

And so, as you all continue to enjoy yourselves tonight, as you continue to help us celebrate who we are and what we do, I want to pose this question.

Voulez-vous m’aider? Will. You. Serve.

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