Mourning the Loss of a Hero
by Daniela Papi – Executive Director
It is with great sadness and a lot of shock that we am writing to let the PEPY community know that one of our heroes and inspirations has passed away. Mickey Sampson died yesterday of yet unknown causes, and we are all devastated. Many of you have met Mickey, the founder of RDIC, and if you haven't met him, you probably heard about him during your experience with PEPY.
Mickey set the bar for so many of us who met him, in so many areas in: doing development well, not choosing the easy path if the more difficult one means doing things the right way, standing up for what you believe in, dedicating your life to something, believing that change is possible and that improvement is only achievable if we work towards, not wait for it.
So many of us have been changed by knowing Mickey. Many of us here in the office might not even be here if it wasn't for his inspiration and his dedication. In a world of development, where we are all determined to improve, find problems, think of solutions, etc we often times forget to look at the successes for what they are. We harp on where funding is coming from, the way something could be better, how to get more stakeholders involved, etc. Today, a friend made the comment that "It is sad that people are most appreciated on the day that they die." Today, the world has lost a true humanitarian, scientist, and dedicated change agent who went out into the world and not only thought "Look at all of the problems out there! How could people have gotten it so wrong!" he also thought "I can do it better than it is being done. I can use my skills to add value to this world." and so he did. Mickey didn't look for medals and awards, he surely wasn't trying to scale up anything to have bigger and further results. Instead he was looking to do it right.
Today many of us lost one of our heroes, perhaps the most inspiring person many of us have ever met. I wish that I had taken more time to show that appreciation to him and those at RDIC. I hope you can join us now and show his family how much Mickey and his dedication to RDIC have inspired us all.
Please feel free to comment below with your thoughts and memories about Mickey or write to us with quotes, stories, photos, recordings, etc. We will compile these for his family to show how much Mickey touched all of our lives.
To honor Mickey, we can go out into the world, see problems, and not just point them out or say how we think they "could be done better"….. instead we can go out and do them. We can ask questions about development, invest in projects and people we believe in, and look for more holistic approaches to problems, even if they take more time and commitment. We can live the problems we are looking to fix, immerse ourselves in the work that we are doing, and believe in ourselves enough to know that we CAN make a difference, as long as we put the time in to do it right.
We will find out if there is going to be a memorial fund in his name and it is likely that PEPY will work on something in his name as well. You can of course always donate to RDIC here in Mickeys honor https://rdic.org/donate.htm , and please do send a note to us to let us know if Mickey inspired you in any way. The more voices we have to show how much he inspired the world the better we can honor his work and his life.
Thank you, to Mickey and all he has inspired.
-The PEPY Team