This story was reported by Communications Officer Amanda Thomas at NPH Honduras.
Doctor Tuttle first heard of NPH through one of his medical students around five years ago. Doctor Tuttle had been involved with medical missions in La Ceiba, a city on the northern coast of Honduras, but the area had become too dangerous to carry on with the mission trips. When one of his student’s mentioned NPH, he set out to learn more.
When he first visited NPH Honduras, Doctor Tuttle was impressed. "The people are amazing - from the children, to the staff, to the volunteers." Doctor Tuttle now regularly visits the ranch to participate in surgical brigades, which are groups of medical professionals that spend their time and expertise to work for free at the Holy Family Surgery Center. During the brigades, surgeons, doctors, nurses and other medical professionals perform surgeries for the underserved population that live in surrounding areas.
"The patients are so grateful," says Doctor Tuttle.
Doctor Tuttle wanted to stay involved with NPH, and so he returned for a second medical brigade. It was during this trip he became a "godparent." An NPH godparent is someone who sponsors a child at one of our NPH homes, develops a bond with them, receives regular updates on their academic and social progress, and exchanges letters and cards with their "godchild."
On a subsequent visit Doctor Tuttle brought his daughter and one of his sons, and each chose a child to sponsor as well. "Now I have five godchildren!" laughs Doctor Tuttle.
The relationship that exists between godparents and their godchildren is a very special one. "We bring them small gifts when we visit, and they introduce us to their friends," explains Doctor Tuttle. "They also come to dinner with us while we are on the ranch during the medical brigades. The best part is just spending time together and talking."
Mabel* is the godchild that Doctor Tuttle's son Mitchell began sponsoring during a visit in 2011. Mabel's face lights up when she begins to describe her godparent. "Mitchell writes to me, and I write back," says Mabel. "I tell him how I'm doing in school, about my grades, and the events we have at the home. Mitchell encourages me to do well in school." The importance of her godparent in her life is evident.
A godparent's support goes far beyond financial assistance. Godparents often visit the ranch, attending graduation ceremonies and spending time playing and chatting with their godchildren. Letters they write to their godchildren are treasured and family photos are stuck inside lockers and albums, as our children cherish being part of a family that spans two different countries.
Godparents reinforce that NPH is a family, albeit a large, noisy, tangled one, that covers a large part of the globe!
*Name changed for privacy purposes