I lost a motivator last week. Dr. Vic Flagiello came to Oaxaca in 2005 as a volunteer with the first medical team we hosted. Every team has it's variety of characters. And Dr. Vic was certainly a character. But so am I. So most of you will not find it as a surprise that we worked so well together. After all, he loved to laugh and joke around. He had a zest for life. But he also was deeply moved when he saw the poor and hurting come for free medical care. A lot like me.
I remember several specific things about Dr. Vic. The funniest memory was when he had to get up in front of a church with a bunch of us crazy Baptists and sing some songs with us. He leaned over towards me and said, "I don't know these songs, what should I do?" My advice to him was to just mouth the words of fruits and vegetables to at least look like he was singing. I told him the natives wouldn't understand English anyway, so it wouldn't matter. I lost my composure as he blared out, watermelon cantaloupe rutabaga onion. I am happy to report that he carried a tune.
While we were in Oaxaca, hurricane Rita decided to visit Texas and many team members headed for home to secure their houses and prepare for the event. Dr. Vic stayed. I remember being discouraged because it was our first team, and we were now short of staff. But he encouraged me to do the best I could with what we had. By God's grace, and Dr. Vic's motivating, both sites we had planned to service were successful.
His last day in Oaxaca was supposed to be a day of rest. But duty called when a Mixe Indian showed up. "Could we come see his daughter?" She had a large tumor on her arm. If it wasn't taken care of how could she marry? She couldn't grind corn and make tortillas like that. So true to his convictions, Dr. Vic and I made the trip to see the young lady. I remember it bothering him that nothing could be done before he left. So he promised to send a donation if I would get her to the hospital to have it removed. He kept his promise. The young lady is now married, has kids, and grinds corn.
I am blessed to have known Dr. Vic. The world was blessed to have been graced with a man who was motivated to go help the lost. Rest in peace Dr. Vic. See you in heaven.