Miracles do happen.
Filipino-American George V. Samson, president and CEO of the Michigan-based World Medical Relief (WMR), has recounted instances in which the private non-profit, medical relief agency solved seemingly overwhelming problems. Samson attributed this feat to miracles.
WMR ran into tough problems when it was working on its long-time dream to have a new building that would replace its old, decrepit building in Detroit.
During a recent meeting with officers of the Philippine Medical Association of Michigan (PMAM), Samson recalled that in 2009, the WMR board saw an urgent need for a new building as the agency was expanding its mission to help the millions of the sick poor all over the world. Specifically, it donates medicines, medical supplies and second-hand hospital equipment to poor countries.
The old building had simply no more space for its expanded operations, and so it was deemed necessary for WMR to have a more spacious facility.
The problem was that it had no money for such a big project. A plan called for WMR to secure a loan of at least $1.5 million, but for one reason or another, this was shelved for months, and so was the building project.
Samson, who attends church service every week, said he prayed and prayed to God for help.
Then one morning, a miracle happened. Samson received a call from a lawyer whom he did not know or had never met. Over the phone, the lawyer said he had learned that WMR needs money for its building project. The caller also said that the family he is representing is willing to donate $1.1 million to WMR.
In the next few days, documents were prepared and signed, and WMR received the $1.1 million.
The next step was to look for a building that the WMR could purchase for $1.1 million. Members of the WMR board looked at several buildings for sale, but these were not spacious enough for the agency’s purposes.
Finally, they found a building in Southfield with a floor area of 68,000 square feet. The building’s many rooms housed business offices.
The WMR board decided the building was what it needed for its expanded mission. But the problem was that its tag price is $3.2 million. It did not have that kind of money.
Samson asked members of the WMR board to pray for God’s help. What happened next was another miracle.
An executive of the company that owned the building called up Samson and told him that for WMR, it was willing to sell the facility at a much reduced price of $1.5 million.
Again, documents were prepared and signed. Payment was made, and the purchase was completed.
WMR now has a facility suited for its needs, but another problem cropped up: The building badly needed renovation and improvement, and again, WMR was handicapped by shortage of funds. It did not have money to pay for the cost of labor.
But Samson was undeterred. At its old building in Detroit, civic-minded people, mostly Filipinos, had been doing volunteer services such packaging and sorting donated medicines and hospital equipment.
Samson issued a call for volunteer service to the Filipino community through the Philippine American Cultural Center of Michigan. The response was amazing: During weekends, volunteers, including young people, trooped to WMR to do renovation activities such as cleaning and scrubbing the floor and painting the walls.
After several months of renovation, the building sported a spic-and-span look. Businessman Joe Cayao, who led and supervised the renovation, said that had it been paid, the labor would have cost at least $50,000.
On Aug. 20, 2015, WMR’s new building at the corner of Melrose Road and Lasher Road in Southfield was inaugurated.
Finally, WMR has realized its plan for an expanded mission of helping the sick poor. When it was still in Detroit, it could send only few shipments of medicines, medical supplies and hospital equipment to beneficiary hospitals in Third World countries because it had only two loading docks.
These days, with its dozen loading docks, the number of shipments has increased 10 times. As a result, hundred thousands more of poor, sick people benefit from its mission.
Samson believes that God has been behind WMR since it was founded by Detroit housewife Irene Auberlin some six decades ago. He loves to recall what Auberlin had told him, “Help the poor sick because God loves them.”
Samson has been with WMR for 25 years now. He first visited WMR a few months after the Mt. Pinatubo volcano eruption in 1991 to ask for donations for the lahar victims.
Samson’s ascent from volunteer to the top WMR post could be also seen as a miracle. A former court interpreter in Pampanga, he is blessed with a heart that bleeds for the poor, and this trait led him to WMR.
We have known Samson for six years now, and every time we meet him, he is always excited whenever he talks about WMR’s projects. His high level of enthusiasm to help the less fortunate has not dipped even a little bit.