Paying Homage to Community Service

by

The Diamond in the Rough Awards of a fraternity at UP-PGH caught my attention. I thought UP Ibalon Bicol had an excellent candidate-M,D. for the nomination. But there had been obstacles to hurdle. So I wrote a letter to the secretariat which oversees the contest for service-oriented doctors to share my thoughts. Read and you decide.

To the Diamond in the Rough Awards Committee:

I’m elated to know about the Diamond in the Rough Awards. I thought I have a fine candidate in mind, but I was a bit disheartened that it has age and location restrictions. Here’s why.

I have difficulty reconciling that age matters in giving honor to a lofty and admirable endeavor such as community service. In the US, there are a few bases of discrimination that I know. One of them is age. I believe it is also true in the Philippines.

Come to think about it. Isn’t there a shade of injustice if we give a shelf-life (expiration date) to recognize exemplary deeds? I always think honorable work must be for all and for eternity. I believe many of us in the profession feel young way beyond 40 years old. Besides, we’re not thinking here of an award that can prop-up careers, but awards that careers have made.

Also I notice that the contest is for rural doctors. But aren’t there blighted and underserved areas too in the big city which have worse conditions than in the countryside? I believe doing grassroots work in the city can be no less daunting.

I don’t have control over the rules. I humbly respect your age limit of 40 and other restrictions. But in my opinion, in considering a person’s recognition, longevity of work and service gives more bone and credence to a person’s motivation. It will give prestige to your contest. The location of the exemplary work isn’t very relevant as I explained above.

An award such as what you offer is better not restricted for prodigies or upstarts who dazzle us like evanescent dewdrops that may vanish in the cold. How many outstanding young men have gone astray? Who has left the rural areas after receiving honor? How many of them abandoned their cause or tarnished their recognition?

I’m sure there are unsung people out there who in their middle age or in their twilight years got the holy grail of their life passion. They are among the people worth honoring in the contest. I’m pretty sure they’ll inspire us more, just like the young ones to pursue causes greater than their own.

I hope this observation may help your fraternity reconsider the criteria of your award. If there is any change, please tell me and I’ll be happy to try and make a nomination. Thank you so much for your attention.” =0=

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