It wasn't my suggestion nor influence. It just happened in the most heart-warming, natural way that makes me feel deep pride and joy.
As I was cleaning, purging, and packing for my recent move to Honolulu, I found this essay by my son Evan....and I had to stop and CRY. Tears of gratitude and love for this reminder of how each person - young and old - serves as a role model for someone else by just being your authentic self and always striving to do your best with passion and compassion. We each have the ability and opportunity to live for the Greater Good and lead by example.
On this Veteran's Day and everyday, I am grateful for all of the men and women who serve our country including, my father, Sam Ching, Korean War Veteran who is now 89 years young and a loving role model to my son.
Private Samuel Ching
Here is Evan's essay that he submitted with his medical school application in 2015...
My role model is a man with sun-beaten skin, bunions the size of ping-pong balls, and a hearing problem. What my grandfather lacks in youth, he more than makes up for with passion and compassion, and those are the values he instilled in me.
My grandpa, Sam, is 87 years old and loves to fish. Until late last year, his 87 year-old body woke up at 5:30 AM to drag his handmade 10-foot wooden boat and trailer held together by duct tape to the end of the driveway to catch seafood for friends and family.
Some of my fondest memories are when we used to go fishing in the dark blue waters of Kaneohe Bay. We would pull up a variety of fish, arthropods, and mollusks from the depths. Eager to learn more about these exotic creatures, I pursued a future in biology.
My path led me to work in a lab that studied the effects of diabetes and inflammation on the colon and bladder. My research gave me a greater insight into the mechanism of disease, and the physiology of the urinary and gastrointestinal tract. I enjoy the problem solving, teamwork, and the attitude of lifelong learning found in research, but I did not feel a passion for the work in the same way that my grandfather has shown for fishing. Whilst I have learnt a great deal and enjoy medical research, I desire to interact more with people on a personal level.
To that end, I made personal connections through volunteering at Northern Nevada Hopes, a clinic for the underserved community. Every day is unique, and I aim to make each patient's day a little better as I take his or her vitals and history. I admire the staff because of their enthusiasm toward helping the patients and go out of their way to provide the highest quality of care. One provider in particular, Clarice, exemplifies this behavior. In a time when primary care providers are forced to see 20 or more patients a day, Clarice is able to provide a welcoming and personable experience. She waits to do most of her charting after the clinic closes, staying long after everyone leaves. She does this so that every patient is allowed more time without falling behind on a very strict schedule.
This is the same kind of selflessness I saw in my grandfather. He worked as a barber, but he continued to cut the hair of his aging friends long after his retirement. He would drive to their homes and give them haircuts free of charge when they could not drive themselves. This selflessness and understanding of the struggles people face is the kind of compassionate attitude I strive to emulate.
I want to make an impact on my community by providing high quality medical care for all. Last year my grandfather was diagnosed with liver cancer. Fortunately, he has insurance and was able to find care, but not everyone is that lucky. I am grateful for the medical professionals that were able to identify and treat his damaged liver so that he can return to doing what he loves. They helped me through a time of fear and uncertainty, and I will use that experience to help others through similar situations.
I have had the privilege of being surrounded by compassionate, dedicated, and selfless people like scientists at The University of Nevada School of Medicine, the health care professionals at Hopes, and Grandpa Sam. They have all shaped my values, reinforced my drive and commitment to become a physician, and taught me the skill sets to be successful. I hope to make them and myself proud by improving on these qualities throughout my career in medicine.
Evan Yamasaki, Punahou 2011, graduated with his Bachelors of Science in Biology from the University of Nevada-Reno in 2015 and is currently in his second year of graduate work in Cellular Molecular Pharmacology Physiology at the University of Nevada School of Medicine.
Evan is fortunate to have good mentors and discovered from his volunteer experience that his strengths and passion are in medical research. His work-life harmony with a challenging career, human connection and giving service with compassion are fulfilled through working with people in his academic and research community as well as cooking and hosting gatherings with fellow dog lovers and hikers.
Grandpa Sam is doing relatively well and excited for Evan's visit in the New Year 2018.
I invite you to be an inspiring role model and leave your legacy to make a difference in the lives of others now and for generations to come...