A Life for Others

FILIPINO-American George Samson has dedicated his life to helping the poor, the sick and the needy, but has never sought fame and honor for his work as the President of World Medical Relief Inc.

Yet, that is exactly what he has been getting the past years — honors, awards, accolades, salutes and standing ovations from people he has helped in over 130 countries.

Last year, he was the recipient of the 2011 Chicago Filipino American Hall of Fame crystal trophy in recognition of his excellent humanitarian work and accomplishments. In 2010, Samson was one of the awardees of the 20 Outstanding Filipinos Abroad. He has also received the following honors:
– Irene Auberlin Prestigious Award
– Adopted son of several cities in Asia and Central America Humanitarian Service Award from Cosmopolitan
– Kiwanis of Detroit and Rotary International Award
– International Recognition Award from Liberia , Jamaica, Nigeria, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Venezuela, Brazil, Nicaragua and Belarus.
– Most outstanding Capampangan Award, Philippines.
– Certificate of Appreciation from Senegal, Gambia, Guatemala, Ecuador, Pakistan, India, Lithuania, Mexico, Macedonia, Ukraine, Sri-Lanka, Jamaica and Haiti.
– Recognition Awards from several Presidents, Romania, El Salvador, Kenya, Ghana, Macedonia, Honduras, Iraqi and Republic of Gambia and several ministers of Health from West African countries and Central America.
– Recipient of the Symbolic Key to the City of Angeles and San Fernando, Republic of the Philippines.

First Pinoy WMRI president
George Valencia Samson is the first Filipino-American President and Chief Executive Director of World Medical Relief Inc (WMRI).

Founded in 1953 in Detroit, Michigan, World Medical Relief is a non-profit charity organization which helps the sick and poor, both in America and in over a hundred nations overseas through sending medicines, medical equipment, medical supplies, blankets, prescription medicines and related materials to the needy, poor, sick and elderly people. WMRI has sent over $2.8 billion worth of medical equipment and supplies overseas.

Thanks to George Samson, out of over 120 countries, the Philippines has been the biggest recipient of medical relief from WMR, having received almost $186 million worth of equipment for Government and Charity Hospitals.

Destined to help others
Proudly Kapampangan, George Samson was born and raised in Magalang, Pampanga. He attended Angeles University Foundation in the Philippines earning a Bachelor’s degree in Management and an

Associate Degree in Nursing.
George worked at Coca-Cola Bottlers Phils Inc. (CCBPI) in the City of San Fernando, where he became president of the CCBPI’s employees’ union. In that position, Samson coordinated a medical mission with the World Medical Relief group in 1989.

When Mt. Pinatubo devastated Pampanga and the rest of Central Luzon in 1991, Samson asked WMR for help for Pampanga residents.

World Medical Relief quickly responded and asked George to come to the WMR office in Detroit to help coordinate shipments of relief supplies for the Pinatubo victims.

George left the Philippines in 1991 on a US visa granted through the request of WMRI. His work in WMRI impressed the management that they decided to hire George immediately.

A devout Christian raised by Methodist parents, George recognized the hand and favor of God. He said, “I discerned and realized this is the organization that will give me a chance to reach out to others. When God is really giving you a favor, you are destined for something.”

Source of inspiration
What George treasures most is being given the chance to work with WMRI’s founder, Irene Auberlin, who was 85 years old when George joined the organization. Auberlin was a homemaker from Chicago who began shipping clothes, medicines and milk to orphans in the Korean War in the 1950s, after seeing their condition on television.
She then asked soldiers to carry on their backpacks the supplies and deliver them to an orphanage. Her work expanded until she founded WMRI.

George has always pointed to Auberlin as his inspiration. She told George, “You help the sick and the poor because God loves them. ” Until her death at age 103, Auberlin was unselfish, donating her body for medical science studies at the University of Michigan.

Career in WMRI
In 1994, Samson was appointed WMRI’s director for international programs. Six months later, he was assigned to be director for operations. He was chief operating officer for 17 years until he was designated president. He expanded WMRI services in 12 US states to provide help to homeless and hungry Americans. He also reorganized the board, taking in more health professionals.

Through his leadership, the number of volunteers rose to 1,770 through tie-ups with universities. This year, WMRI seeks to get more donors and double the number of container vans being sent to different countries-and ultimately save more lives.

Samson has been involved in several medical mission activities locally and internationally. He is instrumental in the monthly distribution of at least two million dollars worth of donated medical supplies, equipment and medicines for overseas for the past two decades at World Medical Relief.

A humanitarian through and through
He has served as chairman of mission activities of Cosmopolitan Kiwanis of Detroit, and Honorary Board Member of Love for Life Foundation, Gambian Association of Michigan, Senegalese Association of Michigan, Board of Advisor at Philippine-American Cultural Center, Board of Advisor at Ala-Ala Medical Foundation, and Detroit Hope Hospital.

When he received the TOFA award in 2010, he said: ” God is so good all the time for giving me the opportunity to serve others especially the Sick, Poor. I came to the United States as a missionary to help the victims of the volcano in the Philippines in 1991. I was a volunteer for World Medical Relief for more than a year, working 40 hours a week without compensation. My faith brought me to believe that Love is not complete without Charity and Charity is nothing without Love. This is exactly where I am now-serving 130 developing countries and the Philippines is one of the biggest recipients of medical assistance for the past 15 years.”

“I had visited most of these poor countries, meeting with their leaders and equipped their hospitals with life saving devices. It is an honor for me as the First Filipino-American, who became a President/CEO of this prestigious organization after 57 years,” he added.

Noel Tulabut of Sun Star Pampanga has written of George Samson: “If there is one Filipino abroad that we all should be proud of right now, that has to be this Magalang native. Not because he has been instrumental in getting government hospitals filled with much-needed equipment, but also because of leading an institution that is life-changing, life extending for tens of thousands of people the world over.”

George is married to Sheila, a fellow Kapampangan who is a physician-internist. They have 5 children: Christian, Cristopher, Christine, Christel and George Jr., — all born and raised in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

An active member of the Royal Oak First United Methodist Church since 1995, George admits that he is guided by the belief that “Success in life has nothing to do with what you gain or accomplish for yourself — it is what you do for others.”

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