2017-05-04 / News

Saco senior honored with ‘Remember Me’ award


Patty and Ted Osmond, parents of award recipient Doug Osmond, pictured here, accepted the Remember Me award on behalf of their son, who is a resident of Monarch in Saco. The award was given by First Lady Ann LePage. (Courtesy phto) Patty and Ted Osmond, parents of award recipient Doug Osmond, pictured here, accepted the Remember Me award on behalf of their son, who is a resident of Monarch in Saco. The award was given by First Lady Ann LePage. (Courtesy phto) Born in Malden, Massachusetts in December of 1957, Doug Osmond climbed out his crib at 10 months old and kept right on going, exploring the world with his career and wanderlust leading him throughout Asia and Africa.

Doug is an Eagle Scout and as a teenager he became fascinated with emergency medical and human relief services. Following his graduation from Wilbraham-Monson Academy in 1975, he enlisted with the United States Navy as a Medical Corpsman and by 17 and a half years old he was stationed in Japan working in a Naval hospital maternity ward. The following year he was serving on the USS White Plains as the ship patrolled the South China Sea rescuing 212 Vietnamese boat people fleeing from persecution in the newly unified Vietnam. This was the beginning of a lifetime career working for refugee relief services around the world.

Using the GI Bill, Doug graduated with honors from the University of Massachusetts (BA Business) with his extracurricular fun being captain of the University Student Fire and Rescue Squad. Immediately after graduating he joined the Peace Corps and was assigned to rural areas of Kenya helping women develop small businesses. Little did anyone know at the time, this two-year stint was the start of a love affair with the people and cultures of East Africa.

Following an extensive year long solo journey throughout Sub–Sahara Africa, Doug attended and graduated from Columbia Business Graduate School. Shortly after graduation, he joined the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and went right back to East Africa with an assignment in Blantyre, Malawi. This was followed by a career of assignments throughout Africa including Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. His long career in Africa was punctuated with positions in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Jordan, Iraq and the Balkans. Wherever there were refugees in need of food, shelter and medicine, he was there with his compassion for those in need and his expertise in emergency supply logistics.

Since we have known Doug we have heard many personal stories from his family and peers from the Peace Corp and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. These stories gave us insight into the man the world saw while he was helping those in need. To say the least he always marched to his own drum. There are stories about how he refused to ever own a tie so he had to borrow one from someone in the office when ever he attend numerous meetings, how he enjoyed reading at lunch even when he had a guest so he would bring a book for his guest to read as well. We read a letter from a friend of his who referred to Doug as his mentor. In his spare time Doug took the time to help this young man with his transition from Kenya to the U.S. Doug kept in touch supporting this young man even when he was deployed all over the world. When the young man settled in the U.S he enlisted in the U.S. military to give back. One time when Doug’s family had not heard from him in a while they were just about to call the U.N. when he called laughing and said, “A white boy with blue eyes and blond hair can not get lost in rural Africa.” Throughout all of Doug’s travels and responsibilities he was an independent man with a big heart.

At the completion of his distinguished 25 year career with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Doug surprisingly retired in 2013. His plan was to live out his life in Nairobi but unfortunately this was not to be. Doug was tragically being overtaken with frontotemporal degeneration and he returned to the U.S. for care in 2015.

While precise statistics are not available, it would be fair to say that during Doug’s long career in emergency medical and refugee services, he was directly involved in saving the lives of tens of thousands of people. Furthermore through his lifetime dedication, belief and commitment to his mission, he represented the best of America to the world. He was an ambassador for America who will be remembered by many for years to come.

About

The Life Time Achievement Award, “Remember Me,” of The Maine Health Care Association is given annually to seniors who live in long term facilities. Doug Osmond, a resident of Kindred Living at Monarch in Saco, was recently bestowed with award by First Lady Ann LePage, who honored 34 other seniors. Osmond’s story, published here, was written by staff at Monarch.

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