Governor Calvo's Weekly Address: Mar 21 - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Governor Calvo's Weekly Address: Mar 21

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The Common Decency of Guamanians
By Eddie Baza Calvo


Hafa adai, my fellow Guamanians,

These past few days have been difficult for our Pacific family. Our brothers and sisters in Japan endured a devastating earthquake and tsunami. Now the world is fearful of the meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

The Chamorro spirit of charity and kindness in every Guamanian never ceases to amaze me. People thousands of miles away are depleting supplies of potassium iodide, their concern primarily for themselves. While I understand this is the natural way to react, it truly says something about Guamanians that our first instinct was to help Japan.

The Marianas is the closest U.S. community to the Fukushima nuclear power plant. One would think that the residents here would be in a panic, or perhaps angry about the situation. Instead, your primary concern has been for the lives and well being of strangers across the Pacific Ocean.

But millions of them know about our culture of ayuda in one way or another. Some have relatives who are Japanese Guamanians. Some worked here, building our tourism industry from the ground up. The rest came here to experience the beauty of Guam… and the warmth of the people.

Despite the problems you endure in life, you wasted no time sacrificing what you have to help our neighbors. Last week, several organizations put together an unprecedented relief effort. All three branches of the government, including the mayors council, came together to gather donations for the people of Japan. Businesses throughout the island, despite the tough economic conditions, have been making large donations.

Last week, Customs and Quarantine officers, who were off duty, stood at the Paseo intersection carrying donation bags. You rolled down your windows and you gave what you had. It was the money you had for lunch. It was money you could have given your kids. Instead, you gave it to help people who are suffering.

Perhaps the greatest display of love for mankind, were the homeless people who walked up to the Customs & Quarantine officers. They gave every last coin in their pockets to the people of Japan. Those reports moved me so deeply. The accounts reminded me of the poor old woman at the Temple, who gave her last coins to Jesus. And He said of her, "…she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood."

The Chamorro spirit living in each and every Guamanian is remarkable. It is a display of the greatest virtues of humanity and Christianity. Your actions make me so proud to be a Chamorro. Your charity inspires me every day to be a better Guamanian.

I ask for your continued support as the relief effort moves on. The unified government led a boot drive Friday afternoon. The First Lady, who is in charge of this effort, is soliciting and collecting donations. You can bring your donations to Government House or to the American Red Cross, or wherever organizations are raising funds. Please make checks payable to American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. In order for these donations to directly benefit the Japanese people, please write in the memo line: "Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami."

You can also call Jesse Alig, my Director of Constituent Services, at 475-9353 or email relief@guam.gov. We can always make arrangements to pick up donations from you.

Thank you for your charity. Thank you for, once again, coming together to help those most in need.

Saina Ma'ase yan Si Yu'os en Fan'binendisi Hao.

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