If you have read previous posts about alumni, you already know something about Chris Lind, one of our original “HCC Kids” back in the late ’80s.
Chris recently wrote to me from the airport in Tokyo, excited to be on the first leg of a journey to connect with his HMHS friend, another HCC alum and former employee, Mike Miano.
The two young men were about to embark on a trip to Thailand and Bali.
Mike, a former corporate trade manager in New York City, is now a project coordinator for Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), known to most of us as the wonderful organization, Doctors Without Borders. Mike is currently stationed in Lashio, Myanmar, where he manages a staff of 120 delivering HIV/TB treatment in the Northern Shan State to nearly 4000 patients. He links the characteristics of his former corporate life – dealing regularly with stress, the need to think on your feet, and a lot of people management – to his ability to handle the heavy responsibilities of MSF. Mike reports that, “Despite infuriating negotiations with local bureaucracy, regular food poisoning, and often very sad situations, I can say that this is the best job I’ve ever had. It’s exciting, it’s rewarding, it’s an adventure that benefits others.”
The friends spent two weeks touring together, exploring the music, art, and other culture of Thailand and Bali. Chris had studied Balinese music at Skidmore College, and was excited to hear it in an authentic setting. He called me from Bali, regaling me with stories of the beautiful temples and other sights he had seen. Like any good mother/grandmother/mentor, I encouraged him to make the most of the opportunity, but warned him that, although he is well used to traveling, these were unique cultures and required some level of caution.
Little did I know that my warning would have a measure of truth. The trip, it seems, ended on a frightening note, as I heard in a phone call from Chris’s mother, Pat O’Rourke, who was one of HCC’s founders. Just days before he was to fly home, Chris suffered his own case of food poisoning, and required hospitalization in Bangkok. Fortunately, he recovered quickly, and was able to make his flight home, a little weak but OK.
Chris won’t have much time to rest. When he settles back in New York in early October, Chris will embark on another new adventure, becoming the manager of Replay, a new music rehearsal space in Greenwich Village. He’ll be in charge of staff and client scheduling, social media, and general maintenance of the business. He also shared the news that a song he wrote is played in the movie “8:46”, which was in the Cannes Film Festival and opened at select theaters across the country on September 4, just in time for the anniversary of the September 11 tragedy, the subject of the film. If you see “8:46”, be sure to watch to the end, to see the credit for his music! Chis will also be releasing new music on iTunes by the end of this year.
We’re so proud of Mike and Chris, and the many other HCC alumni who often call to keep us up to date on the work they are doing, or whose parents share their personal and professional accomplishments with us. Over the years, many have chosen to return to HCC to work for a time with the new crop of young participants in our programs. We hope that in some small way the positive support of their experiences at HCC … both initially as children and later as staff …has helped them to grow into such interesting and unique individuals.