Connecting worlds: Kelly Brown’s mission in the Philippines
Heroes are hard to come by. To find one, you might look for someone who doesn’t give in to pain, and who is respectful, kind and selfless. After visiting the Philippines on a medical mission last month, FedEx Ground Organizational Development senior manager Kelly Brown shares a connection with an entire population of people who she considers to be heroes.
They are the less fortunate kids of Mandaluyong City (Metro Manila) and Guimaras Island in the Philippines.
Kelly traveled to the Filipino islands with members of her church as part of an eight-day mission to bring crucial medical and dental care, along with food and gifts, to local underprivileged and orphaned children.
“The trip wasn’t simply about providing checkups and treatments,” says Kelly reflecting on the many surprises and reactions she experienced. “A major understanding came from seeing them celebrate just what they received.”
On the first day, at the end of each checkup, each child was handed a care package with eight pounds of rice, dried fish, noodles and coca – about four days worth of food. The smiles of appreciation overwhelmed Kelly.
“Here in the U.S., we might be a bit disappointed to stand in a line of nearly 900 people and come out with this small amount food, but the people we served are focused on everyday survival – so they were extremely appreciative of what they received,” observes Kelly.
Also impressive to Kelly was the lack of selfishness, greed or comparison about what was provided to each person. She also didn’t notice any objections to the medical treatments.
“Regardless of how young they were, the kids knew they needed the services they were getting. One child had a tooth pulled and didn’t shed a single tear,” says Kelly. “He was very brave. This was true for several others undergoing similar treatments.”
The missionary group provided similar services at an orphanage before ending their trip. They also broke ground on a new dormitory for the orphaned girls.
Among the gifts for these children were shoes, underwear and umbrellas – not what more fortunate kids would call exciting – but being presented with these necessities brought the Filipino children to tears of joy. Several kids replaced their flip flops that had been nearly worn through.
Kelly’s major takeaways were the importance of adapting and not wasting. She also forged quick bonds during the trip with her fellow missionaries that she hopes will continue.
Naturally, Kelly also kept FedEx Ground top of mind, “When we landed in Manila, I saw a FedEx jetliner and once again remembered I was part of a bigger family.”
Thankful for her FedEx Ground team’s encouragement and support as she prepared for her journey, she hopes to inspire members of her extended team to create their own experience through the many volunteer opportunities available to employees.
“It’s exciting that FedEx has its arms around so many ways to connect with and help the community,” says Kelly. “This, along with the encouragement of my coworkers, really helped validate my participation.”
“After having the opportunity to connect with this community of heroes – all filled with joy and appreciation – I have a newly found sense of what is truly important in life.”
“I am Kelly Brown. I am FedEx.”