Stan Hatch dedicates his life to helping others. A retired lawyer whose firm became the largest in Santa Barbara, he volunteers on nonprofit boards. He’s passionate about an NGO called Direct Relief (DR) which last year gave over $350K in medical resources to impoverished people around the world.
In 2008, as chair of DR, Stan hoped to find a company to donate generic drugs to treat diseases dealt with by DR’s partner clinics. A Google search turned up Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, the world’s largest generic drug company. Stan hoped to make a connection. He spent the next few months trying to find the right contacts.
Stan and wife Betty were Invited to a discussion group at the home of neighbor Barbara Marx Hubbard, a renowned futurist and author. During a break, Stan struck up a conversation. The distinguished-looking stranger to whom he spoke was retiring and moving to Santa Barbara.
What was his field? Stan asked.
Teva. (Stan tried to stay cool.)
What did he do?
CEO of North American Operations.
As Stan’s wife Betty, who shared this story, exclaimed, “What are the chances!”
Stan and DR’s CEO met with Stan’s new acquaintance. Soon after, Teva donated 500,000 inhalers to DR partner clinics in the U.S. In 2010, when an earthquake struck Haiti, DR delivered 1,500 tons of medical supplies, nearly half from Teva.
As Betty puts it, “Many millions of people living in poverty have benefited from Stan’s one, serendipitous encounter. In our minds that chance meeting was a Mega-Miracle.”
I admit it. I’m a fan of Israel. This country of 8 million inhabitants, not much bigger than New Jersey, our 5th smallest state, engages in worldwide humanitarian programs. A day after the earthquake in Haiti, a team of over 200 medical staff was dispatched from Israel. Israel’s Save a Child’s Heart (SACH) has provided heart surgery for over 700 children from the Congo, China, the Palestinian Authority and other countries at no charge.
The one true democracy in the Middle East has created medical advances that benefit all of us. Among them: robotic arms and legs that respond to brain commands, CT and ultrasound scanners, MRI systems, a camera in a swallowable capsule that replaces endoscopy, stem cell studies, groundbreaking research in type 1 diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
These developments, and many more, represent the true spirit of tikkun olam. “Healing the world” is a basic commandment of Judaism.
(Thanks to my sweet sister for alerting me to this inspiring Godsigns story.)
The world is also healed one story at a time. Please send me yours.