On Sunday, his birthday, Steve Kovach was on a plane bound for San Pedro Sula, Honduras. While trekking to one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere to volunteer in a garbage dump community may seem a strange way to celebrate your birthday, Kovach and his boss, Steve Basile, think it’s an “obvious choice.” Both men were prompted to go on the service trip by their mission-minded teenagers.
Kovach has two sons traveling with him, Peter and Nick, who served on short-term mission trips in high school. Peter volunteered with I.S. in Guatemala in 2010.
“They both came back and said what an excellent experience it was for them,” said Kovach, which led him on this trip, and to volunteer with I.S. in Haiti last summer. “I think this group [International Samaritan] does a great job.”
His goals for the trip are “to come away closer as a family and show that we can make a difference as a group.” Nick and Peter are University of Detroit Jesuit High School graduates. Nick is in law school at Wayne State University. Peter will be attending Loyola University in New Orleans this fall.
“We all have God-given gifts,” Kovach said. “If we use those gifts God gives us, we can all make a difference. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
Basile, also a U of D Jesuit alum and a graduate of Miami University, is volunteering in Honduras with his daughter, Ashlynne, who attends Regina High School in Warren. “Ashlynne is a senior in high school and she was looking for a service program that would make a difference,” he said.
Basile has traveled on medical missions to help treat children born with cleft palate. This is his first trip with International Samaritan, and Ashlynne’s first mission.
Having her father there, Basile explained, made Ashlynne more comfortable. “But there will still be opportunity for her to work on her own,” he said. “I would like Ashlynne to come away with a sense of how fortunate we are and to see the world as it truly is,” said Basile.
“I believe it’s really important to take time, money and energy out of our lives to give back.”
He adds that going on a service trip is often a hard decision to make, “but after you go, it’s an easy, obvious choice.”
Steve Kovach will be blogging live from Honduras now until Aug. 6. To read his blog, go to Steve’s Blog.