Doctor cited for Philippine aid work
By Suzanne Roig
Advertiser Staff Writer
Dr. Ben Galindo is on a mission to improve the health and educational conditions for as many people as possible in his hometown in the Philippines.
This December, he will be on his sixth medical mission back with a group of like-minded Filipinos to help the people of San Esteban.
"I want to work on getting flush toilets for the schools," Galindo said. "We have scholarships and I see about 2,000 patients each time we go."
Galindo is one of five people who were selected as 2010 state recipients of the Jefferson Award for public service. One person will be chosen Friday to represent Hawai'i at a national ceremony in June in Washington, D.C..
The other Hawai'i recipients are Irene Takeshita, Colleen Minami, Janis Loo and Bonnie Holcombe.
Galindo, 67, was nominated by his wife, Adelaida Galindo. She said she is proud of her husband for his desire to give back to his home community.
Galindo emigrated to Hawai'i with his parents in 1963. He worked as a janitor, busboy and farmer, and later enlisted in the U.S. Army.
He retired from the Army as a medical officer and now has a medical practice in Waipahu. He also formed San Esteban Aloha Medical Mission. The group goes every other year to the town, caring for indigent patients, distributing school supplies and awarding scholarships. The group brings food and gives away cash, medicine, donated clothes and computers. The team also built a clinic for the town, which has donated medical equipment.
"It's a great feeling," Galindo said. "I do what I do for the love of these people who need my help. Being selected for the Jefferson Award is an extra bonus, of course."
"I feel he's done a lot for his townspeople in the Philippines ," Adelaida Galindo said. "He has put in a lot of time and sacrifice. He's passionate about it. I felt he deserved to be recognized for his efforts."