In a world full of scandals and breaking news, it is easy to forget that we live in a place full of good-hearted people who go the extra mile with nothing to gain in return. Mila Vazquez is such a person.
Mila was born of humble beginnings from a small island in the Philippines. When asked about her childhood, Mila drifts in thought, “Growing up, we didn’t have much, but we always shared what we DID have. My father was always inviting people to eat or stay with us. He has always been a very giving person.” Following in her father’s footsteps, Mila wanted to pursue a career path that would help people. That decision led her to the healthcare field as a physical therapist.
Mila Vazquez has a passion to help with reasons that become more and more obvious as she talks, “Growing up, there was a big ship that came to our island. It was full of mission workers who came especially to help our village and the villages around us. As a child, it was at that moment that I said to myself, ‘I want to be one of those people when I grow up.’ Now, it is like I am living that dream by making a difference for my people of the Philippines as well as my patients here in the United States. It makes me very happy. When I get a thank you card or a friendly call from a patient or their family, it just makes my day.”
As a physical therapist at DeKalb Community Hospital and Stones River Hospital, Mila often goes the extra mile by going with her patients to their doctor’s appointments, calling to check on them and being their friend. We asked one of Mila’s patients what they had to say about her, and they replied, “My family was so very happy the first time that I told them that my physical therapist came to my doctors visit with me,” they continued, “My doctor took extra time to talk with Mila and she made sure that I really understood my treatment plan. I never imagined having anyone so concerned about me. She cares and it shows.”
Going the extra mile with her patients is not the only thing that makes Mila extraordinary. Mila speaks with gratitude about her opportunities in the U.S. , but has never forgotten where she came from. With this in mind, Mila has started ‘The Philippine Project’ - partnering with The Filipino American Association of TN to help raise money to give back to the people and place that raised her. She has hosted charity luncheons featuring homemade cuisine from her childhood home along with asking her friends and co-workers to donate money at designated times, like casual Jean Fridays, where employees bring in a donation in return for the perk of wearing jeans. With the donated funds, Mila purchases shoes and basic necessities and travels to the Philippines every year to share her blessings with children and adults alike.
So, the next time you purchase a pair of shoes, go to the doctor or see someone in need—-think of Mila and count your blessings --- then share them!