In Remembrance of UAF friend Pam Turner by Elizabeth Alex

 

The words below were delivered at the celebration of life service for our long-time supporter, Pam.

I’m Elizabeth. My husband Alex and I lead the small but dedicated group that is determined to raise a houseful of Romanian kids until they are grown: strong, educated and able to live fulfilled lives.

Pam was part of our group; A key and special member of United Aid Foundation. Pam was family.

In fact, she became a mom to Cosmin and Costica- you’ll hear from them in a minute but I’d like to have all of the kids from Romania stand for just a moment… Marian, Georgiana and Denisia. You know she loved you too.

When I was thinking of how I might best describe Pam, it occurred that one of the kids said it best. The first time they visited  America she was worried because her house was small and not as nice as those the other kids would be staying in.  Costica said simply- “Small house. Big heart.” That was that.

Pam did have a huge heart for her family, her friends, our children, your neighbors kids, your sisters cat, your uncle’s dog- she truly cared about everyone.

She remembered details about acquaintances lives years after first speaking to them.  Her concern was genuine. And her generosity was as big as her heart.  If you needed anything or your child was raising money for school or sports- Pam should have been first on your list to hit up for donations!

If Pam felt someone was being mistreated, she instantly became a champion. She was steadfast and loyal,  happy to give a piece of her mind to anyone who had wronged a friend- including my former boss when she had the chance. When I was looking for a new job. she found time to research loads of positions sending me multiple links in hopes of helping me find just the right thing I would be happy with.

She wanted to be happy. She wanted everyone else to be happy too. She loved  to make people laugh and she had a disarming and endearing way of laughing at herself. Pam had a propensity for falling down. You just never knew when her legs would give out. I used to say “It’s not a party until Pam hits the ground.”The last time I saw her do that all the kids were around and rushed into help her up. She stood up with a laugh and a smile saying she didn’t know what the big deal was.

Pam had a mischievous streak- she loved corny jokes.. the goofy cat memes… and the videos of the dogs dressed as humans with human hands coming around to put food in its mouth. She used to text those things all the time despite my telling her to stop because she was clogging up my phone!  Now I wish she were here to send just one more joke about her nemesis President Trump.

She loved pot lucks and parties,  especially when they were with her friends at Truman Medical Center. If you guys don’t already know it she was touched beyond belief  by the shower you threw her to help set up house for Cosmin and Costica.

We had epic adventures in Romania with the people from Medical Missions Foundation- I remember Pam  jumping off a moving train, getting stuck in a communist-era elevator, and sharing a Stella or many Stellas on the terrace at the Hotel Maria following long days of volunteering in the OR or the with the kids at the house. Her career as a nurse and her time volunteering in Romania gave her so much joy.

I’ll miss those things. I’ll miss our almost daily talks about the kids, work, health care, politics, Special Olympics or the way we each grew up.

I’ll miss the new theater restaurant, starlight, bowling, family dinners and weekends at the lake. She was always game to drive down there with me, even if it was just the two of us.

Like all of us, Pam had her insecurities. She didn’t feel comfortable with compliments would most likely be a bit embarrassed by all the adulation this week.  But she had a serene spiritual faith. Pam believed she was a child of God and that she would one day be with her beloved dad in heaven.

More than anything else in this life she wanted to create a home for the boys and see them through high school and into adulthood. Tragically, we know her time with them was so much shorter than any of us dreamed. But despite that short time Pam left a legacy.

As I stood with the boys outside her house last Saturday morning and we were all struggling to grasp the fact she is gone, Cosmin looked at me and said, “Pam told us that in her next life she was going to have a bigger house for us. But we don’t want that. We love this house. Because she was here.”

That big heart made a home in that small house. And she made a difference in the world.  We will always love and cherish our dear friend Pam.

If you would like to support Cosmin and Costica please make a donation below. Your contribution will go directly to the boy’s school tuition.

ROMANIA

 

 

 

 

Heading to the Carolinas

John Alex

Message from UAF founder John Alex

Friends of United Aid Foundation,

The historic flooding from Hurricane Florence continues as I write this. We’ve been anxious to respond due to the requests for aid from local officials, churches, and community groups but have been unable to get past the flooded roadways.That ends now. The UAF advance team leaves today  to determine where we can do the most good. Our first work team leaves next week. Volunteers from NY, NJ, MA, FL, LA, MO, and TX (including Texas volunteers whom we helped after Harvey and want to pay it forward) will help cut clear trees, tarp roofs, gut and mold remediation for houses in under-served neighborhoods where we know they are last in line for help and rebuilding.

We know all too well from New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Houston, and Puerto Rico what these communities are facing. The loss of most of their possessions, months in FEMA hotels or trailers, no flood insurance, and limited FEMA grants for rebuilding. We will at least defray the costs of clean up and, funds permitting, we will be able to duplicate our efforts in Houston and help families rebuild. Please follow our efforts on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. If you feel so inclined, reach out to me via DM on UAF Twitter or info@unitedaidfoundation.org about volunteering and joining us on a trip (this is dirty work under harsh conditions, not a vacation FYI) or helping us financially at https://www.unitedaidfoundation.org/support-us/  where we will keep you up to date on exactly who you are helping and how.

Peace!

John Alex

The most traumatizing situation is war

Northern Uganda has been dealt many difficult blows over the years, not the least of which was a long war that saw children abducted; forced to become soldiers after watching their parents brutally murdered.

Today Uganda has new hope, exemplified by young women like Kevin Aber.

“We all have problems,” Kevin said. “But we need to talk to someone”

United Aid Foundation sponsors Kevin as she completes a master’s degree in counseling. She wants to help Ugandans heal. “The most traumatizing situation here has been the war, ” Kevin says, followed by domestic violence, gender-based inequality, HIV/AIDS and the many problems that come with poverty in Africa.

Kevin, who lost both of her parents in the war believes everyone has an opportunity to live a healthy life. She says they need to start by stopping the cycle of getting trapped in the past. “What has already been done is done and they need help to move on with life,” she said. “I will use my experience and education to help others in my country. They need to feel like someone is out there caring for them.”

You can be proud of helping in Houston

Your support directly aided a family who needed a little help to keep their kids healthy in the wake of Harvey

The Landeros family

Want to feel good about your donation to UAF? Check out these picture from Landeros family in SE Houston, a perfect example of the kinds of people you helped.

The Landeros home was flooded in Hurricane Harvey- they didn’t have flood insurance because, like so many other families they believed they were safe from a catastrophe.

The father, Alfredo was already exhausted working from two jobs and had little time and money to remediate the dangerous mold that started to spread after the flood water receded. But the smell of mold became overwhelming; the family had to move quickly to avoid getting sick, especially with a 4-month old baby in the home.

The smell of mold became overwhelming; the family needed to move quickly to avoid getting sick, especially with a 4-month old baby in the home.”

United Aid Foundation provided moldicide spray and offered help with tearing out the ruined walls and appliances. Alfredo and his son Edgar worked through several sleepless nights and soon the home was cleared.

“I was really proud of them,” said Cenovio Villa, UAF board member who coordinates our home reconstruction projects. “Like all of us they want their kids to be happy and healthy and they did what they had to do.”

UAF donated new cabinets, refrigerator, stove and a microwave. Cenovio and volunteers installed everything the week before Christmas, along with six other families that needed Somali aid.

The new kitchen is beautiful. But even more important, Alfredo, his wife Yvonne, and Edgar, Lesley Yamileth, Stephanie and little Avery Aylin can get back to life after Hurricane Harvey without fear their home will make them ill.

Thanks to all who made it possible.

Holiday Greetings from United Aid Foundation!

“Tis the season” indeed, and UAF has been busy.  We responded all out to Hurricanes Maria and Harvey.

We began working in South Houston while the floodwaters were still in the streets. We’ve gutted homes and sprayed entire neighborhoods for mold.

UAF volunteers have delivered food, clothes, diapers, and baby formula.  We’ve resupplied homes with beds and cribs, stoves, microwaves, and refrigerators.

The weekend before Christmas, board member Cenovio Villa and a crew from Florida worked around the clock rebuilding kitchens for families in great need. We also helped sponsor the best Christmas party ever for over 300 kids in the area school district. Our partnership with Texas State Representative Carol Alvarado and Javier Loya from OTC Global have been critical.

While working in Houston, we joined the world in watching the growing and continuing humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico.We felt as an organization that we had to respond for our fellow citizens.  After a frustrating two weeks attempting to get on the island, we finally arrived and went to work.

With the island without power or water, we’ve made two trips. In addition to carrying critical medicines to local clinics, we delivered over 50,000 meals, 1000 solar lamps, and individual water filters capable of cleaning tens of thousands of gallons of water per day. We continue to respond with food, filters, and solar lamps through our wonderful hosts Pedro and Provimar Melendez and their family.

In addition to this work we continue to support the kids of “Deb’s House” in Romania, and sponsor two girls, Georgiana and Denisia as they attend in high school Kansas City.

UAF sponsored three volunteers on a medical mission to Uganda in September and purchased Afripads, a feminine hygiene product that often means the difference between young girls in Africa staying in school or dropping out. We continue to sponsor Kevin, a brave young woman there who has seen the struggle of war first-hand as she finishes a degree in counseling.

We continue to support house building efforts in Haiti, while our UAF team in Nepal is constantly working to make life better for people who live in extremely difficult and often dire conditions.

In 2018 United Aid Foundation will begin working with a program in Guatemala that ensures kids in school get to eat one meal per day.

I cannot be more proud of my fellow UAF team members, all volunteers with lives and families of their own, who dropped everything to respond to the needs of people who needed them.

They inspire me every day.  I want to personally thank every donor for their faith and trust in us.  We take that responsibility very seriously.

Finally, I want to wish everyone a happy holiday.  Whatever you may find in your social media feed, we are all blessed.  The people that I have met in these amazing times give me full confidence in the future.

Peace!

John

Heading to Puerto Rico while helping Houston

By John Alex

October 6, 2017

Dear Friends,

We’re back here again. I have never experienced anything like the past month in my 16 years of disaster work. I have also never been as frustrated as with the situation in Puerto Rico. No way in for two weeks! It has become a true humanitarian disaster for our fellow citizens.

We leave, finally, on Sunday. We are going to the town of Comerio in the central part of the island. They have received no aid, no water, and the hospital and three of the four pharmacies were completely lost. They do not have power. We are bringing medical supplies, solar lamps, and enough water filters to generate 5000 gallons of water per day if needed. We plan to haul in food and toiletries from San Juan daily while we are there.

The UAF team is tired, physically and especially emotionally after the continuous disasters. I am certain everyone is feeling the fatigue. As I told our wonderful group of volunteers, this is what we signed up for and everyone has responded- at great personal sacrifice. I feel privileged to call them friends.

We need your kind assistance with our efforts.  Please consider giving direct aid to the people of Comerio at

http://www.unitedaidfoundation.org/support-us/

Peace!

John Alex

President-United Aid Foundation

Mission Summary

Teams members came together last week in Houston from NYC, Boston, New Jersey, Louisiana, and Florida to aid flood victims from hurricane Harvey.

We had promised to gut 10 houses and do mold remediation on an entire block in South Houston. We also promised 10 “packages” of appliances including stoves, refrigerators, microwaves, box fans, and blow up mattresses.

We completed the 10 houses and mold remediation.

We were able to bring 5 more appliance packages and get 6 more locally for a total of 21. After speaking to the community we were able to buy and distribute needed soft goods such as towels, underwear, kids clothing, food, baby food and formula, diapers, wipes, cleaning supplies, toys and games, and pet food. We purchased enough to go back twice and distribute.

Through our YouGiveGoods drive, we will be able to speak to our community and deliver another round of goods needed in two weeks.

These people still have a long road ahead. The trauma of escaping by boat with your life, coupled with returning and throwing away the contents of your home and everything you worked for on the street will certainly have lasting effects. The uncertainty of what comes next can’t help.

UAF will continue to be there for this community to help them get on their feet.