As we prepare for I Care’s upcoming mission to El Salvador….

we remember Dr. Phil Ortiz, I Care International’s founder and longtime leader. He left us two years ago on this day after living a full and vibrant life of 86 years.

Phil became interested in I Care after going on VOSH missions to Latin America but became convinced that streamlining clinic operations would serve more patients. He and Dr. Chuck Cools founded I Care International in 1989. And at every step of the way Phil was helped by his wife, Gay.

Phil had a way of attracting people to I Care’s cause and creating a sense of community and purpose, whether that be in North Central Illinois or the Central Coast of California. His was a personality and character and generosity to be admired and emulated. 

Phil loved the cultures of Central and South America and through his travels collected a lot of beautiful pieces. We are sharing a few with you today to enjoy.

I Care is more than eye care clinics, it is a cultural exchange, a way those of us from the Unites States can learn to appreciate and understand our neighbors. Phil gave all that to us. Those who were with him on missions continue to miss his guidance and knowledge very much.  We are determined to honor Phil by continuing his work.

Thanks for being part of I Care International. We close this year with a short poem from an anonymous I Care member.

The Piper*

Phil the Piper played and summoned us with song,

Got to shift things around, he said, it won’t take long.

We have but one lifetime to learn how to live,

The center of which is to Learn how to give.

It’s plain that giving is the best lesson of all,

to show us how to do it,

put mind and resources to it.

We come through it as better people,

By how we live and what we give.

Few come along with such messages and gifts,

that when given in such a subtle way,

can change a person for the rest of their lives,

and make for a better day.  

*Author Unknown