Rev. Peter Pattarapong Srivorakul, president of the Father Ray Foundation, presided over the Aug. 17 “Life for Life” blood drive for the Chonburi Red Cross. The event was also held to commemorate HM the Queen’s Aug. 12 birthday.
People under the care of the foundation from various centers prepare to donate blood.
Srivorakul noted the blood drive has been held for the past three years to honor Rev. Raymond Brennan, who founded the Pattaya Orphanage and the Redemptorist schools for the disabled and blind. “He gave the disabled a chance to have a life and career to sustain themselves and their families without being a liability on society,” he said.
Brennan passed away Aug. 16, 2003.
Nopawad Samanrak sings “Father Ray in our Heart”.
Chonburi Provincial Administrative Organization President Wittaya Kunplome, Pattaya Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome and Father Ray Foundation Vice-President Rev. Michael Picharn Jaiseri hosted the evening festival, lighting candles to remember Father Ray.
Booths sold food and the stage featured performances from children under the care of the foundation and sponsors.
Srivorakul presented awards to the winners of the 10th anniversary writing contest to amateur musician Nopawad Samanrak, who took home 50,000 baht.
Brennan was lauded in a stage performance that followed and the family of Deputy Mayor Verawat Khakhay donated 22 wheelchairs worth 15,900 baht to the foundation.
“Father Ray gave his life to helping the disabled and poor,” Jaiseri said. “He should be considered as a role model with his beautiful heart, kindness and sacrifice.”
Jaiseri also used the occasion to announce that the Father Ray Skills Development and Education Center for Special Children - a project Brennan never got to see fulfilled - will finally break ground next summer. The Chonburi PAO, he said, has donated half the 30 million baht needed for construction.
Father Ray’s spirit looks over the good-hearted people donating blood.
Also as part of the festivities, a dinner was held at the Pattaya Orphanage with orphanage director Father Michael Weera and Human Help Networks Thailand director Radchada Chomjinda hosting Father Ray’s sister Sharron Brendan-Purtell and niece Amy Henderson, both from the USA.
At the beginning of the event, guests and children from the Orphanage and the Home for the Deaf, gathered around the huge statue of Father Ray to place flowers and sing the Father Ray song: “Unknown Hero”.
Amateur musicians Nopawad Samanrak (left), and Manaswee Samanrak (center) accept the winning award for writing the song, “Father Ray in our Heart”.
A somber candlelight ceremony caps off the activities in memory of Father Ray.