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Yokosuka Knights Help a Family in Need

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After hearing about the difficult situation of a family in the Philippines, Knights from Yokosuka Council 12488, located on a U.S. military base in Japan, stepped up to help fulfill the youngest daughter’s dream of completing a college degree despite her frail condition.

In order to achieve this dream, the father, 63-year-old Hesus Cervantes of Bacolod City, had been carrying his 16-year-old daughter, Lyka, to and from school on his back. He would cover four kilometers a day on unpaved roads and cross a shallow river in rural Philippines to provide her the opportunity to attend school. Lyka’s heart condition prevents her from making the journey on her own.

Hesus was unable to finish high school, which is why he dreams of helping fulfill his daughter's goal to graduate from college. "She really wanted to go to school ever since. I told her to strive hard. We are poor but we will find ways for her to continue her studies," Hesus said in the local dialect. Though both father and daughter are physically weak, they continue to draw strength from each other.

Lyka said she is thankful for her parents' sacrifices, which is why she is focused on studying and finishing her education to help her family. "I am thankful for my parents though we are poor. I will really study hard to find work," she said.

Arnel Hernandez, past grand Knight of Council 12488 and past faithful navigator of San Lorenzo Ruiz Assembly, saw the original story about the family on a Philippine news network. He now lives in San Diego, so he forwarded the story to the current grand knight and financial secretary and asked if the council could help the family.

During the council’s March meeting, a proposal was made to aid the family. While the idea of a wheelchair seemed reasonable, the terrain Hesus traverses to bring Lyka to school made the suggestion impractical.

The idea to donate a carabao – the Philippine water buffalo – came from the reporter of the original story, Meniel Lopez. The animal would allow Lyka to easily get to and from school and have the added benefit of helping plow the fields with Hesus, who works as a farmer.

The council unanimously voted to pursue the acquisition of a carabao. With the assistance of Lopez, the council acquired and donated the animal, a gift that now eases the heavy burden borne by Hesus and Lyka.