June 20, 2003

An act hard to follow

by Earl S. Duka

NATIONAL CITY, CA – The American Academy of Motion Pictures awarded George C. Scott an Oscar for his outstanding performance in the bio-epic movie “Patton.” But he refused to accept the statuette. He claimed to have “a principle in (his) life,” of which he parroted until his last days on earth.

The phrase, “I have a principle in life,” seemed to define the ethics of many men. Look at what Jay Ruiz did with it. He also did an act which is difficult to follow by many an ordinary mortal. He returned the cash incentive given to him.

A retired Navy man, Ruiz has been a volunteer at the FilAm Wellness Center of the Kalusugan Community Services since it inaugurated November of last year. Almost on a daily basis, he found himself at the Center, assisting in its operation. He made sure everything went well with it, including tinkering with its computers which Hewlett Packard seemed to manufacture just for him.

Jay Ruiz with the check presented to him by Dr. Ken J. Berger and Dr. Riz A. Onades

Then, this non-profit agency commissioned him to run a golf tournament. It was held at the Barona Creek Golf Club on May 31, 2003. It was successful enough to raise $50,000 and, as we go press, the agency’s founding president, Dr. Riz A. Oades, was still counting the pledges from the sponsors.

Surprised that the amount was already way beyond its expectation, the agency decided to reward Ruiz with a check worth $5,000. Faster than he could blink his eye, he gave the check back to the agency, reasoning that it needed more money than he did.

The conduct Ruiz showed on the night of May 31 was without any repercussions of course. One was domestic in nature. After he acknowledged to the public the hard work of which the members of his golf committee performed and then suggested – tongue in cheek, to equally share the amount amongst themselves, his wife, Ceferina, complained of not being informed of his generosity.

But the die was cast.

The couple planned to take a vacation in Colorado later this week. They own a motorhome and will drive it inter-state. Surely, five thousand dollars will go a long way to gas it up.

A post-script to this story will tell you to do a good deed. That five thousand dollars will go to fund the cancer program of the Wellness Center. A small amount? Not when you think of Kalusugan. It makes things to happen. Just ask Jay Ruiz.

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