A Filipino nurse in Illinois, USA, has received the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award.
Jennie Bagaconza, who is a nurse clinician in the Bariatric Center at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital, was recognized for providing humanitarian aid in developing areas including the Philippines, Bolivia, Guatemala, Indiana and Africa, the Daily Herald reported.
The award honors employees and physicians from across the Northwestern Medicine health system who best exemplified the ideals of Martin Luther King Jr. and demonstrated a positive impact in the community.
“Being born in a third world country, (I was born and raised in the Philippines), you see poor people, hungry people. I volunteered after graduating from nursing school in a local clinic before I came to the United States and it all evolved from there,” Bagaconza said.
The Filipina nurse joins volunteer medical missions and collects clothing and other goods to donate to orphanages in the Philippines. She also volunteers at Poor Household of God, a foundation that reaches out to the poor in Eastern Samar in the Philippines.
“In 2011, I started my first mission trip to the Philippines. I did it for three years in the Philippines, then I extended (my stay). If I’m going to help, I’m not only going to help people in the Philippines, I want to help other people too,” she said.
Bagaconza was among five who were presented with awards for their contributions and for embodying Dr. King’s legacy of humanitarianism. The Humanitarian Award has been awarded to 77 employees and 29 physicians since it was launched in 1979.