The Dalai Lama was the honored guest at a luncheon event at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in San Francisco, Feb. 23, and acknowledged and thanked 51 highly compassionate individuals who are being honored as Unsung Heroes of Compassion 2014. Among the honorees were Nevada County residents Scott Kellermann and his wife, Carol.
The honorees — 24 women and 27 men — range in age from 16 to 85; work in 18 countries worldwide; and represent many ethnicities, cultures, faiths and backgrounds. Gathered from the far corners of the earth, each demonstrates the timeless and universal human goodness celebrated by every wise culture.
The Kellermanns were honored for their role as medical missionaries to the Batwa pygmies and other tribal groups in southwest Uganda. The indigenous Batwa are conservation refugees who were removed from their homeland in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest when it was made a World Heritage Site to protect the endangered mountain gorilla.
The Kellermanns were also instrumental in founding Bwindi Community Hospital, now rated the best-performing hospital in Uganda, and the Uganda Nursing School Bwindi.
The Kellermanns’ work has been supported and expanded by the Kellermann Foundation, a nonprofit charitable organization based in Richardson, Texas.
“I did have a few minutes with the Dalai Lama,” Scott Kellermann said. “I mentioned that we met in 1977 at his home in Dharamsala, India. We were traveling with our 1-year-old son Seth in a VW bus from Germany to work in a mission hospital in Nepal.
“During our meeting in Dharamsala, the Dalai Lama asked us to care for the Tibetan refugees in Kathmandu. Over the next two-and-a-half years, I assisted the refugees and monks housed in the Tibetan temple of Swayambhunath and set up a refugee clinic at Shanta Bhawan Hospital. I think his inspiration was one of the catalysts for working with the Batwa, who are also refugees.”