|Ngô Ngọc Bỉnh (fifth from left) at an event to donate wheelchairs to disabled children. Photo qdnd.vn|
VĨNH LONG — Ngô Ngọc Bỉnh officially retired 17 years ago, though that has only provided him with more time to help the people in his community.
Bỉnh, 90, is the former chairman of the Việt Nam Fatherland Front Committee of Vĩnh Long Province.
People often call him "Sáu 01", because of his zeal for successfully implementing the "all people unite to build cultural life" movement, following Directive 01/CT-TU of the Provincial Party Committee.
"In 1995, people living in rural areas mainly travelled by foot. Electricity was also not available. I launched a movement to build roads and bring electricity to every house," Bỉnh told Vĩnh Long online newspaper.
"The movement was supported by locals and implemented on a large scale."
With the success of the movement, he suggested the Provincial Party Committee continue developing the "building a civilised lifestyle in public places" movement.
The campaign attracted the participation of many people.
Directive 01 has contributed to improving people's lives and the model was added by the Vietnam Fatherland Front to the implementation plan for the whole country.
Bỉnh officially retired at the age of 73, though he has not stopped working. Instead, he has supported the local sponsoring association for poor patients.
"At the beginning of 2002, I heard HCM City had set up a sponsoring association for poor patients. I also intended to establish such a model in Vĩnh Long Province," Bỉnh said.
He invited Nguyễn Vĩnh Nghiệp, chairman of HCM City sponsoring association for poor patients, to work with the government.
In August 2002, the provisional executive committee of the Vĩnh Long Province's sponsoring association for poor patients was established.
At first, the association faced many difficulties because there was no funding, no workplace, no staff, and no guidance from higher-level authorities.
To develop associations activities effectively, at the end of 2005, a meeting was held and Bỉnh was elected as the chairman of the association.
The participants in the meeting set out many goals and programmes such as eye surgery for the poor blind, congenital heart surgery for children, wheelchairs for people with disabilities, free meals for poor patients in hospitals or support treatment for poor women.
"After a year of implementation, I found that children with congenital heart defects need surgical support. Heart surgery requires a big fund and it is also difficult to receive donations. But successful surgery saves lives," Bỉnh said.
He also called for donations to help adults with heart surgery. More than 500 heart surgeries were been performed successfully, ten times more than planned.
These successes are the result of Bỉnh's unremitting efforts for the poor. He has gone to each commune and hamlet to help the poor and even walked several kilometres to reach families in remote areas of Vĩnh Long Province.
“I will continue doing this work for as long as I can,” he said.
For his meaningful activities, Bỉnh received many awards including National Emulation Soldier in 1999, First-Class Labour Medal in 2012, Certificate of Merit from the Prime Minister and the title of Labour Hero of the Renovation Period in 2021. — VNS