I remember the day I met Hugo. He had been a fixture with our company. When you hear the word Sav-on…there are certain folks that come to mind. They are part of the history and legacy of our company. Their presence and character have made an indelible stamp on those with whom they’ve worked.
At that time…Hugo had worked for our company…for almost 40 years…and I had been around for over 20. But in all that time…I’d never met him. But you can be sure…I had heard about Hugo…AKA Mr. C. So it was odd to finally meet this man of renown in his current state.
As I worked at my desk across from the conference room where he was at…many people stopped by to welcome him back to work. They would go in and sit for a while and reminisce about some good times…and hard times too.
Later in the afternoon…when there was a break in the action…I went in to introduce myself to Hugo. I found a man…short of stature…but one whose spirit filled the whole room. As I sat down…Hugo shared with me what he had been going through for past couple of years.
By this time…Hugo’s body was very weak. Even taking ten steps was an effort…and the oxygen tank was always close at hand. He had been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis and had been fiercely battling for his life.
A man who once worked tirelessly…he always invested himself in people. Hugo made a difference in the lives of the people he worked with and the customers he served. He took the time to help young and inexperienced people…learn their job. Not by giving them the answers…but by helping guide and direct them as they came up with solutions for themselves. Not only allowing them to increase their knowledge…but their confidence too.
But more importantly he cared about the people who he worked with. He would always make time talk to you, find out how you were doing and hear you with a listening and caring ear. If you needed something and were at your whit’s end…there was still one call you could make. That’s why…there had been a steady stream of people to welcome this man back.
While Hugo’s body faded…his faith and his spirit grew. While desperately wanting to remain with his loving family…he prepared to meet his Lord and Savior. Some people in this situation would become bitter and angry…but not Hugo.
Instead Hugo fought, hoped and prayed for that miracle. He remained hopeful…and the news seemed promising when he got word that he had finally been approved for a lung transplant. As Hugo and his family learned about transplants they became keenly aware of the shortage of available organs. Not because there is a shortage of organs themselves…but because not enough people have signed up to be donors. That’s when the Constantino’s became involved with One Legacy/Donate Life.
Hugo’s miracle was not to be…this side of heaven. He passed away on June 26, 2005.
While deeply grieved at the death of her beloved husband…Maria Elaina and her children have continued with their commitment to spreading the word about the need for organ donors. As a result…over 1,500 people have now signed up on the One Legacy website to be donors…and doing so in the name of Hugo.
On April 29th, there will a Run/Walk to raise funds for One Legacy/Donate Life. Funds that will go to work to educate people about organ donation and the difference it make in the lives of so many who are in need. The Run/Walk will take place at California State University, Fullerton on Saturday April 29th, and race time starting at 9 AM.
I encourage you…take a few moments and go to the One Legacy/Donate Life website…and sign up to be an organ donor. Share the news with your family and friends…and encourage them to do likewise.
Hugo made a difference in the lives of people who he knew…he fully invested himself and he cared. He continues to make a difference…even in his death…by inspiring people to give others a chance to live by becoming an organ donor. You too have that opportunity to make a difference. Sign up today…and I hope to see you there on race day, April 29th, at Cal State Fullerton…9 AM sharp!
To check out more good new stories start by going to Joe Speranzella’s website at A Tic in the Mind’s Eye. KT Cat…over at The Scratching Post…has an article on ordinary people joining in the fight against Multiple Sclerosis.