Saturday, July 28, 2012


  We have been working on this program for a month. We were introduced to Roger Gutierrez four weeks ago and instantly became friends. GMA Kapuso is the foundation arm of the GMA Worldwide Network. Roger is the projects manager and has asked us to partner with them to work on common projects we both are involved in. They are involved in catastrophic projects, health issues, vision and other similar projects. July is disabilities month in the Philippines and GMA Channel 7 wanted to partner together to do a program on the LDS Charities involvement in providing wheelchairs. They provided the venue and the disabled to be assessed for a wheelchair. They did a pre-screening to make sure that those that applied for a wheelchair where physically and financially eligible. I have already communicated with Roger on the possibility of learning about those screening techniques.

  Rose (a GMA Kapuso employee) opened the meeting and then turned it over to us. Ely then introduced LDS Charities to the crowd of about 60. Ely is a Welfare Services employee that heads up disaster related projects on the church side. He works with Stake and District Presidents and Bishops and Branch Presidents. Being Filipino he conveys the knowledge that the LDS Church is also their church. As always his presentation is spot on. The time is then turned over to me to give a presentation on the wheelchair program and the use and maintenance of the wheelchairs.
   It is now time to start the assessments. Colonel Monzano (1st photo) has graciously volunteered the Marines to help us do assessments and also to transport the wheelchairs we will need to give to those disabled that have come.
  GMA 7 TV is recording the event to edit for an upcoming segment on the news about disability.
These are the opportunities that help the name of LDS Charities be recognized.

   We did not have as big a number of recipients that we could have, but it was a quality program.
  The third picture shows a young man that came in his home made "wheeled chair". You can see casters on the bottom of his chair made for him by his brother. We fit him with a proper wheelchair, but it will take a little time for it to fit him properly. Because he sits like this all the time, his legs will have to be stretched a little at a time until his legs fit it properly. It is painful to try to move them straight very fast.
  The fourth picture is of Sister Conception. She came to get a new wheelchair because her current wheelchair is too tight. We connected instastly and spent some time together during the program.
We were able to get her a new chair that will help her in her work at the school she teaches at.
   The fifth picture is Jean Rose. A young lady that has no use of her legs and doesn't have the ability to speak. However she radiates kindness in her smile. Her mother is so grateful for the help she has received.
   The last picture is Jerry's friend. (Wow, I can't remember his name) He has two very short legs. His left leg is short but fairly straight, but his right leg turns out 90 degrees at the knee. His hips are deformed and arthritis is setting in badly in the lower joints. He is doing push ups in the photo to show how strong his upper body is. He actually walked into the event, but it is getting very painful to move his lower body. Receiving a wheelchair will truly make his life less painful.
   We are so blessed in our calling to literally see miracles every day. I can see the love that is shown to these people by our Heavenly Father. This nation as a whole has a strong belief in Christ.

Friday, July 27, 2012


   We have been busy, but we need to go to the Temple.
The Manila Temple was announced April 1, 1981 by President Joseph Fielding Smith. Back then, the local members of the church were responsible to raise the funds to build the Temple. After 9 months of hard work, only 65% of the needed monies were raised. As you are aware, the Filipinos are a poor people by and large. After an intense effort by the leaders, the remainder of the funds were raised in the next 3 months with great sacrifice of the local members of the church.
   In September of 1982, groundbreaking ceremonies were held and the work began. It took 2 years to do the construction and on Sept. 25th, 1984 the Temple was dedicated by then Quorum of the Twelve member Gordon B. Hinckley.
  This is a moderate sized temple with 4 ordinance rooms and 3 sealing rooms. The total square footage is 26,683, not including the adjoining building that contains supportive areas.

    The ordinance rooms are small in comparison with the Temples we attend in Idaho and Utah, but they are beautiful and peaceful. It is so nice to remove ourselves from the hustle and bustle of everything we are doing and take time to learn and reflect.


  This week we have two very productive meetings that help get our name out. The first was with Hon. Jose Fabien I. Cadiz, M.D., the Vice Mayor of Marikina City. Pete had set up the meeting to meet the Vice Mayor and see about a partnership with the city. I mentioned earlier that Pete has a lot of influence and helps us meet the right people to get things done.
  We met for an hour and before we left, we had an agreement with Vice Mayor and had scheduled a wheelchair training for the 23rd and 24th of August.

During our visit the Vice Mayor starts to sing. He has a beautiful voice and loves to use it. 
On Wednesday, we traveled into Manila for a meeting with CBM. We thought we were going to a catastrophe meeting and wanted to see how they handled it as a warm up for our meeting on July 31st.
CBM is a worldwide NGO that covers many initiatives, but focuses on CBR (community based rehabilitation). That doesn't truly say what they really do. They work with local government to promote education, disability programs, social programs and other things. They help the LGU be able to structure how to develop programs and sustain them. One philosophy they share with us is the ability for the work we do to be able to sustain itself after we leave. Others in attendance were Disabilities International, and I forget the others (too many to remember).
It was a good exchange of ideas. At the end of the meeting we discovered really what the meeting was about. They wanted to form a network of service providers to help each other in major activities. We were in aggreement that there is duplication in some areas and other areas that need help.
There were many suggestions of the type of network that those in the room would with. They asked my opinion. I said as LDS Charities, we could not enter into an agreement that had any real structure because of the makeup of our organization. I suggested a loose organization that would help us in our efforts to partner with other NGOs. That would entail a small group that would operate on fees for services, such as inclusion on a website that give all pertinent information on the NGO's purpose, focus, and areas of operation. One gentleman from Holland was pushing for a more structured network and wanted a formal agreement signed the same day. Of course we couldn't agree to that. The measure was tabled, but more information is being sought. After we got back to the office, I investigated more about the option of an already existing group. I found PCNC (Philippine Commission on NGO Certification). This group does accreditation and list the members on a web site similar to what our needs would be. I also found of the 24 members of the group we meet with only 6 were accredited.
I feel we won't pursue the avenue they were proposing. The man in the blue is Barney, He is from Northern Ireland and facilitated the meeting. He as well as others in the group, are very instrumental in helping the Philippine people.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


   On Monday, we went to Mandaluyong City Hall for a Disability Program. This is the 34th year of this celebration honoring both the disabled and the City Employees and Volunteers that work very hard in helping the disabled. Wennah Marquez is the employee that we work with in the city. She is head of the PWD division for Mandaluyong but to us she is one of the most valuable assets we have. She is our go to person whenever we need help with intermediate wheelchairs. We only have 16 assessors to do this work and it takes a couple of hours to properly assess a patient. I try to give her as much support as possible because of all that she does for us.
   We start to greet all that are there, but we always migrate to the disabled children. They are bright, happy and always so respectful. When you shake the hand of a child, they will sometimes take your hand and touch it to their foreheads. This is a sign of respect to adults. Not all children do this, but most of the disabled do. I have found this to a very humbling experience. This small gesture forms a bond between the two of you.
   The proceedings are under the direction of Mayor Benhur Abalos. He had a daughter die at the age of 17 from a severe infection. In her honor he formed a charity to help children's causes mostly in education, but his actions show his heart is in the right place.

   We have been invited to be with a group of children that have been fitted for our intermediate wheelchairs. Two of those recipients are shown in the picture below. These opportunities help to recognize LDS Charities but more importantly the LDS Church.

   There are approximately 94 million people in the Philippines. The number of disabled people worldwide averages about 10% of the population which equates to 9.4 million in the Philippines. Those that require a wheelchair make up 1% of the population, that means 940,000 people just in the
Philippines alone.

The program consisted of many awards presented to city employees and volunteers that work with the PWDs in the Mandaluyong area. The entertainment was provided by children in the community. The group above is a city children's choir that won many awards at a recent Asian competition in Thailand. The group below consists of disabled children performing song and dance with drum and lair providing the music. I am always thrilled at the abilities of the disabled.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


   We took the opportunity to visit the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial. It consists of 152 acres of pristine land just outside the capital of Manila. Their are 17,201 Americans buried here along with 517 Philippine Scouts. This area continues to form a bond between America and the Philippines as it reminds us of the past cooperative effort of World War II.
   There are 20 sets of brothers at this cemetery, one of which is a set from Idaho. Most of the Italian marble headstones are marked and 29 Medal of Honor Recipients also marked. The Memorial has also listed in stone 36,286 names of the Missing in Action. These names are engraven around the hemi-circle along with the Great Seal of every state in America in the walkway.

  The operations in the Pacific Ocean in World War II started on Dec. 7, 1941. Unknown to me, the Philippines were attacked simultaneously. The Japanese forces had conquered parts of Asia but were set back by the fierce defenses of the U.S. Army, Philippine Army and the Philippine Scouts. They held the Japanese back for 6 months and enabled the U.S. offensive operations to be put in place.
  A high casualty rate ensued through these 6 months and beyond. Due to the brutal nature of the treatment of POWs, 11,000 Americans died in captivity. Many of those are buried here.
  I am pondering as I hear the chime that sounds every half hour. This is a solemn and sacred area.

I see others visitors here from many countries, but especially Filipinos. All of the Filipino's I have met love and appreciate Americans. I am grateful for their acceptance of us.

  The first picture shows the Memorial and the start of the 2 hemi-circles on each side. You can't see it but the face of the Memorial has en graven St.George slaying the Dragon. The second picture shows the final resting places of many Americans and Filipinos.

  The third picture shows one of the inscribed walls with the names of those that gave their lives. Included is the plot location if they are buried there. I did look, no Hadlocks or Driesels.

  There are many maps in the Memorial that show the battles that took place in the Philippines and surrounding areas. The forth picture is the map of the liberation of the Philippines. Here preserved as a reminder of a terrible time.

  This is a place where time stands still in remembrance of the tragedies of the past. Everyone has been effected whether noticed or not. Two of those places that were affected were Idaho and Utah as represented in the walkway of marble.
  Rows and rows of crosses mark the dedication of individuals that gave their all in defending right and to protect our freedom. What would the world be like without their sacrifice. But some will wonder what it would have been like if they still had their son, husband or father.

Friday, July 20, 2012




 The disabled workers are the real reason for our visit. They have great abilities and can do about
anything. These photos show, from the top, workers completing toy projects, wheelchair rims and tires being assembled, sanding of small parts of wood for the assembly of toys and use of a metal lathe in the building of the wheelchairs. Too often in my life I have assumed they were incapable of working at various jobs. I have seen a strong will in the disabled to be a productive person. They only want the opportunity. Pete told me that if it comes to an able bodied person and a disabled, the employer will always take the able bodied. His hope is to change the opinions of people, even if one at a time.


  On Thursday, we took the time to visit Tahanang Walang Hagdanan. They build and assemble wheelchairs, as well as many other items. They utilize mostly disabled persons in there production.
  We utilize them to assemble our intermediate wheelchairs. An intermediate wheelchair is made to support those individuals that can't use a regular wheelchair. These clients would not have the ability to sit up or even more around by themselves. Cerebral palsy and polio clients are  the ones most commonly fitted for these wheelchairs.
  All the frames and parts are shipped by us to Tahanang to be assembled. When we assess a client we take several measurements and send the form to Tahanang to built the chair to those exact specifications. It takes about 2 weeks and they deliver them to us. We then have the assessor pick up the chair for delivery to the client. The assessor does the final fitting and adjustments and teaches the family on use and maintenance of the wheelchair.
  This process is working quite well. I see in the future that we will have to refine this process as our requests grow. We are seeing more and more requests for our services every day. It would be great to have more Senior Missionaries to expand our ability to do more. This is a common need worldwide.


  The workers are provided places to stay on site. The property is over 4 hectors (about 8 acres) and  provides much of the workers' needs. They even grow vegetables and fruit on the property.
  The first picture above shows the large building that houses all the projects with which they are involved.
There is a metal shop (to build wheelchairs), a wood shop (to make toys and items to sell), a sewing shop (sides and backs for wheelchairs), paint shop and assembly shop.
  The second photo shows the well maintained areas to the dormitories and how well everything is made to accommodate the use of wheelchairs.
  The third photo is a school on the grounds that teaches disabled children. The public school system is not set up to accommodate the disabled. They are either left out or go to a private donations funded school. This is one of the private donations schools. The teacher is a disabled young lady due to the result of polio. She happens to be a member of the church.
  In the forth photo, they are building a specialty wheelchair that can lay horizontally and still put the client in an upright position.
  The last photo shows the basic assembly of our intermediate chairs prior to the specialization fitting to a particular client.


   You sometimes just fall into something.
   By mistake we went to the Mandaluyong office complex to visit Wennah. She had invited us to be part of an activity of turning over wheelchairs to the city that we had donated. Oops, it's next week. Becky loves it when I screw up.
   We fall right into a 50th Birthday Party for the Mayor of Mandaluyong. He is a very popular Mayor and thousands of people are there. An attendant asks us who we represent and after formal introductions we are seated in the VIP Section, RIGHT UP FRONT. You can't make this stuff up!

  We are then joined by Pete, a PWD that works within the government to facilitate change. He is a small man that rides a regular tricycle that he had converted to battery powered. I told him he should manufacture and sell them. He isn't interested, he prefers to work to get the government to help other PWDs to get more education and employment. He may be small but he carries a lot of clout.
  Well the Mayor arrives with his entourage and everybody is yelling and clapping and the band is playing and another guy is yelling into the mike - it's crazy time. Now this is what I call a Birthday Party. I expect Becky to do this for me on my next birthday.
  The Mayor starts to go by and then stops and looks right at us. He moves toward us and introduces himself and shakes our hands. He is a very gracious man. He then continues forward to take his seat of honor.
  The celebration begins. Bands, aerobic dancers, happy birthday songs, speakers, well you name it, it was there. I have never seen anything like this.
  In the middle of all this, Pete decides he has had enough and says 'Let's go to the office'. What? We are right up front - Doesn't this show disrespect to the Mayor? He says, 'Come on'.
  I am trying to hide as we are going down the center aisle. Busted - There are three rows deep of cameras from every TV station in Manila. Headline "Mormons Bolt From Mayor's Birthday Party".
  Like I say, you can't make this up.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


  On Friday and Saturday we did wheelchair training in Makati at the Makati East Stake building.
We got started a little late because some of the participants were told we started at 9am. We prefer to start at 8am and finish by 4pm.
  The group numbered 18 and in our short experience we found that it is a great size for a class. This class was also very talented and learned quickly. We had 2 Bishops from the Stake in our class plus very talented people from the local area. This was the first time that we didn't have class members with disabilities.
  With few exceptions, our new materials worked well. We made notes to revise the revision we had already revised from a revision.


  On the 2nd day of training, we had 18 people that came to be assessed for a wheelchair. 16 either got a wheelchair at the training or we ordered one for them. One person went home with crutches and another went home with a walker. Our goal is not necessarily to give wheelchairs but to help a person be more mobile by the mobility aid we give them. That sometimes means something other than a wheelchair.
  The first picture above shows a young man with no legs and only a small thumb and a small finger on one of his two arms. Because he has no legs to give him a lower center of gravity, he goes over backward in a wheelchair. We told him we could alter one with wheelie bars on the back, but he preferred the skateboard that he rides.
  The next picture is of a man that is turning 100 years old. He can't hear, which makes conversation very limited. His daughter was there and helped confirm the few questions that needed to be answered.
As he was fitted with the correct wheelchair, he gave Becky a wink. He's got a good thing going and he knows it. What a wonderful man.
  The next gentleman received a walker and was so grateful. We have found that if we put someone in a wheelchair when they can still walk, the leg muscles atrophy and they end up unable to walk. We don't want that to happen before its time.

  The next picture is of a 19 year old man that had a hugh lump on his back. it protruded at least 8 inches and made it difficult to sit. He had no use of his legs, but could drag himself around inside of his home. If he went somewhere, his father would carry him. Can you imagine the father's love that it would take to carry your son for 19 years? We tried him in a standard wheel chair, but the hump forced him forward. Not an ideal solution. We then put him in a Rough Rider that has a tilt backwards if positioned right. With a loosening of the back rest, it works. The son was more than happy and you can only imagine what the father was feeling - His son can now go, go, go.
  The last picture is the class that we had just graduated. To us they were 18 new friends.


   On Monday and Tuesday of this week we were very busy completing the updated version of the participants manual. We want to have it done for a training on Friday and Saturday in Makati. Everything is looking good and we are going to print out the new version. We have made great progress on improving the training presentation. Our next project is to update a few slides in the Power Point.
  Wednesday we went to Manila with Weenah Marquez (a Gov't employee with PWD) to deliver a supportive wheel chair to a young girl in an orphanage. Weenah has been a great resource in our work. She is one of our few trained Intermediate Wheel Chair Assessors. She heads up the PWD division in our city of Mandaluyong.
  It took quite a while to get to the orphanage in Manila, even though the distance was not that great. But again, the traffic just creeps at times.
  I had never been to a orphanage before, so I was a little apprehensive. What would we see? Poorly taken care of children with illnesses and poor diets? I was pleasantly surprised.
  I will tell you that it is a life changing opportunity. There were 67 children there, mostly with disabilities from cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus. We found the children well taken care of. They were clean, active and very smart.
 The young girl that the wheel chair is for has CP. She could not talk or verbally communicate, but when she was put in her chair, she laughed and smiled and throw her arms about. You knew she was excited and very happy.
We took the time to visit with all the kids there. Some are not able to even know you are there, but we talk to them anyway. The children that are able to interact are happy and love to play.
 The orphanage is run by Sister Arlene, a small lady from India who has dedicated her life to taking care of these wonderful young children. It is hard to get her to talk about herself, all she wants to talk about are the children.The children range from 6 months to 19 years old. Many have been abandoned by their families due to the inability to take care of them.
   I have fallen in love with each of these angels. I know for a fact the our Father in Heaven watches over these very special children. You can feel the love of the Savior  as you hold each one.
  The volunteers are truly selfless people that do a great service. They treat the children with such respect and devotion. You can tell the children love them very much.

  As we pick up these children and give them a hug and talk to them, we feel true joy. They are so responsive and want to play with us. We are having the time of our life. My thoughts go to my own grandchildren and the love I feel for each of them.

  The first picture is the little girl that we fitted to a supportive wheel chair. It is very easy to tell that this young lady is pleased with her new mode of transportation. Also in the photo is Sister Arlene. We have formed a new friendship with her and will do more to help her in her efforts.
  The 2nd photo is of Becky holding a 9 year old girl that has only been in the orphanage a few days. She is very lonely and wants her Mommy. She was left here because the family isn't able to take care of her. She cries and holds on tight to Sister Hadlock. Becky is such a comfort to her.

Becky held her for the longest time. The Spirit is strong in working with these little ones.

  The 3rd picture is of a little 5 year old. He is very funny and I am helping him count to 10. He does great on 1 and 2, then everything is 5 until her gets to 9 and 10. We had a lot of fun together. He just laughs and laughs. The boy in the crib next to him keeps teasing me, so I tickle him. He is one of the funniest little boys I have ever seen. He reminds me so much of Kanden.
  The last picture is of Sister Arlene taking care of the children about 2 to 3 years old in their cribs. Every room has a lot of cribs, whether the child is 6 months or up to 6 years. Each child has there own space, even though very small.
  We are already making plans to return.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


   We have had a few experiences with the driving but not as bold as it was yesterday. I suggested that we take time to see the sights around us. I love history and really liked the idea of visiting the location of Intramuros. This was the start of Manila.
  When the Spanish were here they started Intramuros as their Capital in Asia. They began the walls that surrounded the city in 1571 and the entire complex wasn't finished until 150 years later. Later the US took control and it became the Colonial Headquarters. It became the Pacific Allied Headquarters following WW II.

  The history is very rich. There are several original buildings still standing, but as the guide told us the government doesn't have money to restore them. Many of these buildings are cathedrals started by the Jesuit Priests in the 1500s. One church covers a whole city block. (1st picture) It currently is having some work done on it and signs warn of falling debris not from construction, but decay of the building.
  We did go into one cathedral that is currently being used. A wedding was just about to start as we entered. They were taking a lot of pictures, so one more camera was not noticed. (2nd picture)
  The original wall of the city still stands in some areas. the wall is 40 plus feet across and in some areas it housed stables or prisons for American and Philippine soldiers. Just behind Becky is the top or the wall. (photo 3) (sorry it only downloaded part way)

   You can still see where bullets and cannons struck the wall. Photo 4 shows original walls of buildings still standing from where the area was bombed by the Japanese. The hope of our guide is that they will be restored one day. The last photo shows part of the original wall that has withstood the time but does have scares of wars.

   The trip was eventful, but the traffic was terrible. Bumper to bumper - slow and tedious - yah, we got lost a few times from bad directions, but we survived -  time for a new adventure!


  Last Wednesday the USNS Mercy was docked in the Philippines at Subic Bay. This is a 1000 bed floating hospital that is making it's Pacific Partners 2012 Tour. Each year it goes to Pacific ports that have been predetermined by a partnership between the US Navy and countries in the Pacific. On board are many health care specialists that donate their time and expertise to help those in need.
  The ship leaves in April and doesn't return until September from San Diego. Many of the volunteers are members of the LDS Church. We had the opportunity to host many of these LDS volunteers to a dinner and set up an opportunity to visit the Manila Temple for a session while they were here for the day.
   They looked tired. They work from 4am to 8pm or later in providing service to many. I so admire the work that they are doing. About 50 members of the group showed up for the dinner we had. They were from everywhere you can imagine in the US and Canada.

  Most found out about the opportunity through the Church News in the late fall. If interested, watch for the opportunity or get ahold of LDS Charities about the work of USNS Mercy.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


  On Thursday this week we had a chance to visit the LDS Church Philippine Distribution Center. It took about 30 minutes to get there from the office. It was our purpose to see how the wheels chairs were ordered and either shipped or picked up by the partner group. We found it was better than we had imagined. It did give us a lead on were we can improve our procedures for delivery. This part of the program was working quite well.
  There are over 500 wheel chairs housed in the warehouse for our immediate needs. After seeing how many we had, it's time to 'move 'em out'.
  The warehouse is very large and holds everything a ward or stake needs as well as things individuals can use.
Members can order a large variety of things via the Internet to be shipped directly to them.
  Adjoining the warehouse is Beehive Clothing. This is were the LDS Garments are produced. They produce thousands every day and not only supply the Philippine areas, but also Central and South America, China, Taiwan, and Japan. They are very efficient and the most productive of all the Beehive Clothing operations. They are very dedicated in their work.
  Half of the group is working on women's garments and the other half working on men's.

It was fascinating to watch how fast they were and the quality is nothing but the best.
  The first photo shows 2 workers cutting out the fabric. They have patterns hanging on the wall behind them for every size they make, both men and women. They are bundled in a same size and predetermined quantity and that bundle moves from one person to the next. Each does his or her part in the production as seen in the 3rd photo. As they complete their part, they sign off that each is done perfectly.
  When everything is completed they are packaged and made ready for distribution. (Photo 4). That could be for a large shipment to Distribution Centers or one package for a person that ordered on the Internet.
   This process could easily be made more automated, but that would eliminate jobs. It is most important that people are being productive and self-reliant.
  Becky could have stayed all day. She enjoyed it that much.
(Photo 2 decided to not show up for work.)