Garry—knows me well. Well, not really. We just met in Fort Bragg, CA, but he invited me to stay with him in San Jose where I was able to get to know him better.

Garry knows me well, because he too is on a mission. Garry’s mission it seems is to leave no stone unturned in his pursuit of excellence, and his desire to be the love to be the compassion in his everyday influence and activities. Garry was born in Northern Canada near Santa’s workshop which might explain his effortless love for all people. Like Santa, Garry tries to brighten the days of all whom he encounters, not just December 25th.

Although he does know how to build an igloo, Garry has made the country of Laos, not famous for their igloos, his focus. Laos does have one point of distinction however, more bombs and ordinance have been dropped on that country than any other…ever. Garry went there originally on a lark. By profession he is a nurse, and ever seeking to help the greatest number of people. Garry not only worked in the hospitals by night, but also taught and continues to teach nursing in the university by day. But, years ago, he was offered the chance to help chaperone a group of would-be nurses to the country of Laos to disseminate free medical services and supplies.

Garry now has taken over the program, administrates it, and is the primary fundraiser as well. Garry takes in any books that people wish to donate, lists them on Amazon, and uses all the proceeds for medical supplies for Laos (all in his…not so spare time). A noted clinician, he and his partner Peter, donate all their honorariums from speaking engagements as well.

In addition to supplying medical training, supplies, and services in Laos, he also has built two schools, and is in the process of building a third. He has also been arrested for his efforts there, and although there were no charges levied, his sat unflinchingly in confidence that despite what consequences may come for his humanitarian actions, compassion is always the right direction and avenue for human effort.

In addition to raising funds for the Laos project, Garry is also the primary fundraiser for the San Jose Gay Men’s Chorus. As an addendum to those tasks…he also sings…well. 🙂 In addition, as a piggi-back those efforts, he also serves as a mentor to young men in the Gay community especially those from a disadvantaged youth who are seeking higher education, a proclivity with which Garry excels.

Amongst all these altruistic and humanitarian activities with which he participates, there is one pet project that Garry holds most dear. While on his trip to Laos, he met some young Buddhist monks that had desires to become educated and give back to their communities. Garry saw their earnestness, and was moved to secure funding through the Quaker church for their schooling. When this academic year draws to a close, Garry will be able to congratulate two new graduates of university. He did all this while studying for his own PhD. at the same time.

Garry is the kind of man that just made a simple decision; a man who asked himself a set of simple questions. Who do I want to be? What can I do for peace? With the skills that I have, how can I love the most people right now? 

This is what Garry can do, and does do. I can run and paint, Garry can nurse, fund, and support. Garry Indiana, the town and man that knows me best. We achieve our greatest form of humanity when we practice compassion.

 

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