Dr. Cirilo Reyes, production veterinarian
Production Veterinarian Cirilo Reyes Jr., DVM recently won the University of the Philippines Alumni Association in America (UPAAA) Distinguished Alumnus in Veterinary Medicine and Community Service award for donating more than $500,000 worth of gently-used textbooks to Philippine veterinarian schools.
Seventeen years ago, the USA-Philippines Book Donation Project started because students in the predominately agricultural country did not have access to modern textbooks.
"Many schools practically do not have libraries," says Cirilo Reyes Jr. "Due to economic hardship in the Philippines, getting funds for the improvement of vet school libraries is next to impossible. There is always an acute shortage of books, especially in the remote areas of the country."
Throughout the year, Reyes collects the textbooks and journals from public and private veterinarian practitioners, as well as several U.S. veterinarian schools. He ships 25-30 boxes, each weighing 300 pounds, of gently-used textbooks to the Philippines each year.
"Veterinary professors and their staff can help their students by providing them with excellent veterinary resources, which help them upgrade the quality of veterinary education," says Reyes, who earned his Doctorate of Veterinarian Medicine (DVM) degree from the University of the Philippines in 1981.
While he has received an award for this project in 2015 and now again in 2019, he says the biggest achievement is graciously allowing countless students from all veterinarian schools to study with the books and journals that he has donated.
Reyes says, "….no words can fully describe the appreciation painted on vet students' faces when they receive a book shipment."
The fully-lined bookshelves could not be possible without Reyes' biggest supporters.
"My wife has helped with the sourcing, collection and shipping of the books while the Venerable Knight Veterinarians-Venerable Lady Veterinarians (VKV-VLV) Foundation compensates for the shipping expenses," says Reyes. "The project would not have been possible without their help"
Despite the ongoing shipping expense challenges, Reyes wants to continue the project to increase the project's reach of students in the Asian country.
"If I get additional funds, my goal is to expand the project to underprivileged children in the Philippines who have very limited access to good books in the classroom," he says.
Anyone who wishes to support this project can help by donating towards the shipping expenses. For more details, please contact Cirilo Reyes, Jr. at Cirilo.Reyes@seaboardfoods.com or at 620-544-5747.