Repaying Kindness: Dr. Paul Loofs

More than 65 years have passed, but Dr. Paul Loofs can still remember the day in 1947 when a CARE package was delivered to his bomb-damaged home in Central Europe. For his family, still reeling from the aftermath of the Second World War, that one parcel represented much more than the canned food it contained.

“The mere fact that people would send something to someone they didn’t know, and who, until recently, was the enemy – it left a deep impression on me,” says Dr. Loofs. “I wanted to repay that kindness.”

Although it took a little while, that is just what he did and has been doing ever since. In 1951, Dr. Loofs immigrated to Canada and made his first small donation to the organization in 1959.

“What I like about CARE is that it has developed the clout to actually bring about change,” he says. “It really gets down to the roots of the problem.”

He worked for the federal government in Ottawa for many years before settling in Victoria after retirement. Leaving work has not slowed him down, however. Now in his eighties, Dr. Loofs does medical mission work, putting his PhD in adult education and linguistics to good use as an interpreter. With family in Honduras, he also travels quite frequently to spend time with them.

Dr. Loofs says he has seen the importance of CARE with his own two eyes, having witnessed both the aftermath of World War Two and many of its projects in the field. Fourteen years of marriage to his Honduran wife have also added a personal sense of pride in CARE’s projects in the Central American country such as PROSADE.

CARE’s PROSADE project in southern Honduras seeks to expand local food production, guarantee access to safe and reliable water, and promote good sanitation and hygiene practices. It is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD).

“That’s the kind of thing I am happy to see,” he says. “Projects like PROSADE help the small farmers in Honduras, which is one of the poorest countries I know. It’s gratifying to me that a big organization like CARE can take the time and effort to get down to the grassroots and help the little guy who is so often overlooked.”

Dr. Loofs has been a CARE supporter for more than 50 years. He has also left a gift to CARE in his will, ensuring that his dedication to the organization will live on as part of his legacy.

In honour of this devotion to help fight poverty, CARE Canada presented him with a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal in April 2013.

“I am honoured by this award, and accept it with great humility because I know there are many others who are more deserving and who have done more,” he says.

It is safe to say that Dr. Loofs has indeed repaid the kindness afforded him years ago by that single CARE package, offering in return a lifetime of helping others.