Paul Walker's Reach Out WorldWide: Looking Back at the Charitable Actor who Helped Chilean Earthquake Victims
"When you put good will out there it's amazing what can be accomplished," honorable words said by the late Paul Walker, the founder of the charitable organization, Reach Out WorldWide.
The "Fast & Furious" actor had the looks, the charm and the acting chops, but he also had a big heart - which led him to help others in need around the globe, including Chileans devastated by "a magnitude 8.8 earthquake that struck the area, triggering a tsunami and ravaging the country."
Walker didn't just walk the walk and talk the talk; instead he used his celebrity to help others in times of crisis. He didn't just fund his organization; he was on the ground making a difference, bringing medical supplies as well as his warm smile to those who needed comfort.
Even at the time of his death on Saturday, he was taking part in a charity event for his nonprofit group Reach Out WorldWide, which was trying to help those affected by the typhoon in the Philippines.
"Walker took a simple idea and made it a reality by creating Reach Out WorldWide - a network of professionals with first responder skills, including doctors, nurses, firefighters, paramedics, construction specialists, heavy equipment operators, and other disaster-survival specialists, who understand that a fast response makes the difference between life and death, according to ROWW. "These professionals have put their 'boots on the ground' domestically and worldwide, to immediately fulfill the unmet need in times of chaos, tragedy, and destruction..Four years later Reach Out WorldWide has evolved into something special."
On Jan. 12, 2010, Walker and his organization traveled to Haiti to help build shelters and provide medical help for those struck by their own earthquake. IV bags, tubing and other supplies were brought to orphanages and refugee camps in support.
"With the Haiti earthquake happening in January, no one anticipated that another devastating event would occur soon after in another part of the world. But on Feb. 27, 2010, it did," wrote Reach Out WorldWide's James Pearson.
According to Pearson, Reach Out WorldWide's goal was "to find remote areas that weren't receiving as much attention as the heavily populated areas. We reached out to people we thought could help, and after a series of emails and phone calls, we were put in contact with Josh Berry from the Save the Waves Coalition (savethewaves.org)."
At the time, Berry and and Save the Waves had been in Chile for a few years. Berry who had "great relationships with the locals, as well as a deep knowledge of the affected coastline," was "the perfect guide," Pearson added. "Prior to our team arriving, Josh went to local clinics and hospitals and put together a list of what was needed. He forwarded the list to us and we quickly collected what we could."
With supplies in tow, Reach Out WorldWide put together a team of 12 that included fireman, paramedics, EMT's and a medical unit led by Gale Lawrence, M.D., a family doctor in Seal Beach, Calif. The team arrived in Santiago, Chile on the morning of March 13, 2010, with more than 30 duffel bags filled with medical supplies.
"Every person we treated was grateful, polite and kind. They had nothing; no clothes, no food and no possessions, yet they continued to smile, "Person wrote." The town was flattened, but the spirit of the people was not. I remember thinking to myself how lucky I was to be a small part of their lives. I was so honored to be able to help and provide hope. I was truly humbled by their spirits."
Like Pearson, Walker was also touched by the Chileans' positive outlook on life.
"You know, I have a lot of friends that surf and that travel down here to Chile," Walker told a local Chile TV station in March of 2010. "And they said, 'Man, it's going to be bad.' The thing that's incredible to me is, the morale and the spirit is still strong, people aren't feeling sorry for themselves because life must go on, ya know."
Reach Out WorldWide continues to honor Walker's memory.
"Paul wasn't someone who would just write a check and lend his name to an organization; he was the heart and soul of Reach Out WorldWide. Paul was the first one in and the last one out, he led by example and his hard work and dedication inspired everyone who had the privilege of working with him. He led one of the first teams into the hardest hit areas of Haiti and traveled to Chili to bring water, medical aid and hope after the Earthquake and Tsunami. He ran a chainsaw clearing debris and helping people get back into their homes during the hottest days after the tornadoes in Alabama... Some people play a hero, Paul was a hero. Paul was an honorable, hardworking, dedicated, respectful man with a humble spirit who shared his blessings with those who needed it most. It was an honor and a privilege to be able to work with, learn and look up to someone who walked the walk." - JD Dorfman, Reach Out Worldwide.
"Paul Walker was truly an amazing person and his impact will be forever felt. As the ROWW family mourns the loss of our founder, leader, brother and friend we pledge to carry out his dream of helping those when they need it most. Paul's legacy and good will lives on through ROWW."
To find out more on Walker's charity and support its work, go to https://www.roww.org