- Posted November 5, 2012 by
San Juan City, Philippines
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Veterans in focus
Before I Go To Heaven
The very good humored and articulate chief petty officer Pacifico F. Sarmiento is a top notch Navy qualifying exam taker of his time, a retired Philippine Navy Radio Officer (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and an avid reader.
I met him on October 6, 2012 after I learned that he cannot get hold of a copy of our foundation's inspirational book, Springboard to Heaven.
"I went to the bookstores near my house." Sarmiento said. "I want to read this book before I go to heaven which will be soon." He said with a smile.
The 79 year old veteran sent a message to a local radio station asking where he can find a copy of the book.
After hearing this, I decided to arrange a meeting with him to personally deliver a copy.
In a fast food restaurant, as soon as I sat down across him, he began telling me stories about his life as a soldier.
With his shaking hands, he put out a folded paper from his wallet, slowly spread it open and showed me a list . "These are all the countries I've been to while on duty." He proudly said.
Then he showed his dog tag. "I always wear this around my neck. I am very weak and have had episodes of heart failure." Once, while walking down a street, I collapsed and I woke up in a hospital. I learned that kind strangers took me to the hospital. They opened my wallet for identification. When they found out I'm a veteran, they knew where to take me."
He then laughed and continued. "I had this dog tag made with all my details on it so people won't need to look into my wallet the next time I fall unconscious."
Sarmiento is a well known old chap in a community promenade which he frequents. He asked me to escort him there and once inside, he started introducing me to all the employees of the mall - from the security guards to the clerks, cashiers and managers of various stores.
He is popular for his generosity. Just like a magician, he pulled out candies and tokens from his pocket and gave it the the people manning the stores.
"I like giving gifts to people. I love to make people smile. I don't mind spending because I have no use for money in heaven. I want to do something good before I go to heaven."