Stars of the Show by David Kafambe

In just about every big city, a 40 under 40 list is published each year to recognize 40 people under the age of 40 who accomplished something special that year. It’s supposed to be a big deal, but is it really? Heck, you can do so many things under 40. Do something special over 80? Now that’s worth celebrating.

At 55, I’m in awe of people 30 years my senior still bringing it every day. I know it can’t be easy, but they won’t tell you that. These 8 remarkable people over 80 inspire me and have all played a role in making International Samaritan stronger. 

Pauline Beh on her recent trip to visit Samaritan Scholars in Uganda.

Pauline Beh has been traveling with us for 14 years, serving on medical missions, scouting expansion opportunities, and making sure that your investments are being well spent. A scholarship changed her life as a young woman; now she changes the lives of others by contributing so generously to our scholarship program and asking others to do the same.

Mrs. Falls and me at the opening of the Kelly and Matthew Stafford and Friends Education Center at SAY Detroit this past Monday.

Ozella Falls became the heart of the SAY Detroit Play Center while cooking meals for the kids every day after school, helping the young people there flourish. Their success inspired the family life centers we are building to help our scholars across the world. 

Richard and Dolly Flasck

Dolly and Richard Flasck have been inseparable since being high school sweethearts. Approaching their 60th wedding anniversary this year, they treat strangers like friends and friends like family, including the young people and families we have been able to serve for years in El Ocotillo, Honduras, because of them.

My mom and me working out before our next golf challenge!

My workout partner at the gym, and coffee date afterwards, Julie Tenbusch is a retired nurse who has won 77 of the 80 golf games we have played against each other over the last 40 years. My mom imbued in me the love for others and the work ethic that I share with our teams and scholars (as well as a healthy sense of fun competition)!

Raymond (1937–2016) and Marie Weingartz

All of the good things that have begun happening for families in Kenya and Uganda this year would not have happened were it not for Marie Weingartz, the matriarch of a large family and their family-owned business. Whenever we have coffee, she inspires and encourages me with tales of the challenges they have overcome through faith and faithfulness to God. I do my best to lead my family and this organization as she has theirs.

Gone But Never Forgotten

Fr. Frank with my daughter, Julia, a few years back.

Fr. Frank Canfield, S.J. (1936-2023) was the person most like Jesus I have ever met, and he never failed to share the love of Christ with others. He traveled with International Samaritan in our early days, long before I came here, and led efforts in the Samaritan 5K and in his daily prayers to advance our mission and bring healing and strength to our communities. I still try to be more like him.

Bill Pulte 

Shortly before the late, great Bill Pulte passed away in 2018, he and his wife, Karen, made a five-year commitment to International Samaritan that ultimately helped us and our families successfully survive the pandemic. Bill and Karen helped to found this organization with the first donation in 1994 to build housing in Guatemala, and they have stewarded us into the most uniquely powerful organization I have ever been a part of in my life.

These everyday heroes fill the unforgiving minutes with 60 seconds’ worth of a distance run, to borrow a phrase from Kipling.

Lord, may all of our scholars and each of us have the strength and grace to do the same today!

By Mike Tenbusch

Mike Tenbusch, President

Mike joined International Samaritan in 2018 after two decades of leading social change in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan. He’s a University of Michigan Law grad and author of The Jonathan Effect: Helping Kids and Schools Win the Battle Against Poverty. He and his wife, Maritza, have three children who keep them young.

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