Published in Cumberland Times-News Letters on July 18, 2008.
To the Editor:
A chance to win a BMW is a chance to change the world – well, a small part of it -- in, perhaps, a most significant way.
In August 2007, a group of 16 adults and youths, under the leadership of the Rev. Jack Lombardi, chaplain at the Grotto of Lourdes in Emmitsburg, traveled from Maryland to Tanzania, Africa, to volunteer with various organizations, orphanages, schools and hospitals. For 17 days, they lived in Arusha, Tanzania, home of St. Elizabeth Hospital.
The “state-of-the-art” 33-year-old hospital provides top-of-the-line services for 350,000; however, it lacks what we would consider to be basic medical equipment -- and they have never owned an ambulance. When asked by Father Jack and his group, while touring St. Elizabeth, how they might help him, Medical Director Dr. Kway responded, “We need an ambulance” for transporting seriously ill patients, many with AIDS, to a second hospital about 60 miles away. An ambulance -- $65,000: A tall order that has received inspiring response.
Carroll Kohler, an acquaintance of Father Jack’s from his days as pastor at Holy Family Catholic Church in Randallstown (Father Jack served at St. Patrick in Cumberland in the ‘90s; he recently celebrated his 20th anniversary), is a locksmith by trade and car restorer by passion. Kohler spent more than four years restoring a black 1976 BMW, Model 2002, to perfection, with all the bling. He intended to sell it. He changed his mind.
Kohler gave the BMW to Father Jack to raffle to benefit St. Elizabeth Hospital. 2,002 tickets will be sold at $30 each. The drawing is slated August 15. More info can be found at http://www.sehafund.org/.
The odds are pretty good at winning the Beamer – and at saving a life in Arusha.
Nancy E. Thoerig