Tribute to PCV Julia Campbell
Trip Start Mar 21, 2006
55Trip End Oct 05, 2008
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Yesterday all PCV's that were willing and able were invited to come to Manila to gather as a group and to meet the various Peace Corps DC staff that has been in country the last few days assisting in the search for Julia. I arrived here yesterday along with PCV Tracy whose site is located near mine and was in Julia's batch and planning on traveling with her for 5 weeks throughout SE Asia beginning June 1. This has hit all PCV's hard but especially hard for those that knew her as Tracy and so many others did. We arrived last night and had a group discussion with many Peace Corps Philippines staff and a representative from the Special Services Office from DC Headquarters. While the discussion continued to leave us with so many questions it was wonderful that we could all be together.
This morning we arrived to the Peace Corps Office where were heard from a US Embassy Representative about the search and also the Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter. While they were in the process of telling us how the search was going, as they had been to the site just yesterday, the Embassy Rep. received a phone call and it was at that moment that he told us the news that Julia's body had been found. The instant tears began to flow and I have no doubt will continue for years to come. While I did not know Julia personally I have heard so many amazing stories about her kind heart, love of people and all of the wonderful work she did for the Filipino people she lived and worked with here. She was an extremely hard worker and dedicated volunteer; some have even called her a "Super PCV." Meaning she always went above and beyond and set the example for what is means to be a PCV. While this was very difficult news to hear it was so special that so many of us were gathered together and that we all heard at the same time, rather then through the rumor mill.
I have been extremely impressed with all those involved in this process from the PC Philippines Staff to the constant stores we heard today from the PC Director and Embassy Officials about the cooperation and support the search received from all levels of Philippine Officials and the local community in the site of her disappearance. While this story has ended in a sad note today, we all know that Julia would want us to continue on with our service and impact our communities the same way she did.
This afternoon many PCV's worked extremely hard to plan a memorial service for Julia that will be held at the US Embassy in Manila this Saturday. It will be wonderful for us all to be together and share in our grief and perhaps more importantly share the many wonderful stores about the life lived to the fullest by our friend and colleague Julia Campbell.
Please continue to keep Julia's family in your thoughts and prayers along with my fellow PCV's and the PC Philippines staff!
May she rest in peace!