Fernando Gres, 1953-2016
Associate Director, NPHI - Hermano Mayor
September 3, 2016 - International
Fernando Gres, an Hermano Mayor and a valued and respected colleague, passed away on September 3rd, after a long struggle with diabetes. Fernando was extremely dedicated to our NPH family and spent 31 years of his professional life protecting and serving this family whom he loved dearly. Even after retiring from his position as Associate Director of NPH International in 2013, Fernando continued his service as the secretary on the NPH International board.
We are grieving at the passing of a tremendous Hermano Mayor and also for the loss his family suffers. Our hearts and prayers go out to Fernando’s wife Ofelia, and children Fernando, Diana and Pamela.
Below is Fernando's biography.
Fernando was born August 6, 1953 in a family of three sisters and one brother. He never knew his father. He and his siblings lived with their mother, who was very poor. She earned her living by washing and ironing clothes for other people 12 hours a day. After an extended illness his mother died in January 1964. She left the children to an aunt who could not take care of them because she had children of her own. She searched for a better way to raise the children and found NPH. The children entered the home in February of 1964.
At that time NPH Mexico had only some 300 children, in a building which is now the Bachillerato, or technical high school, called “Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles”. When Fernando entered NPH, they were just about to move to the new home in Acolman. All chairs and tables and mattresses had already been moved, and many children slept on the floor for some days. But some older children still had their mattresses, which they shared with Fernando and his brother and sisters. That was the first, and still is the most important impression Fernando has of NPH; we are a family, and we take care of one another, we share everything together.
Fernando was very happy at NPH. He had many friends and he loved going to school. He remembered that NPH was still very poor. There was only candy and soda once a year, but this was more than he used to have. There were also hard times, when there were only tortillas for dinner, and meat no more than once a week, if any.
In January of 1965 he moved to Acolman and finished primary school. He then returned to Cuernavaca to finish secondary school. In his free time he worked in the bodega and helped with administration. In 1972 he completed his year of service working in the old Hacienda “San Salvador” in Miacatlán that had just been purchased by NPH to become the new home for the children. First he worked in the fields, and later in administration.
Father Wasson offered Fernando a scholarship to study English and Business Administration in the United States, which Fernando happily accepted. He studied in Arizona at Yavapai College in Prescott and Mesa Community College. In 1978 he moved to study at the University of South Carolina where he was given 1 of 4 scholarships from Father Wasson, and even lived in Canada for a while. But in the end (after finishing his studies) he returned to Cuernavaca to complete his year of service in 1981 and begin to work for NPH on January 11, 1982.
“There is no money in the world that can buy my satisfaction, which I get when I see the children arrive at NPH, poor and beaten by life, and to see them grow into beautiful caring human beings who share and take responsibility for their own successes in life.”
Because of his life dedication to NPH, and after 31 years of working for NPH, Fernando says humbly, “My work does not feel like work, where I still see so much need for NPH in this world, where so many children suffer. I feel it my duty to repay society for the opportunities I have received, and I want to teach the children that they should help those who have less. For all the good things I received from Father Wasson, and NPH and its benefactors, I will be forever grateful.”
Besides Fernando's work with NPH, he worked together with friends to establish a home for elderly homeless people. He is married to Ophelia, and has two daughters and a son. Fernando has also been blessed with two grandchildren. After retiring, Fernando would like to spend part of his free time participating in volunteer work, some of which would be with NPH, and some of his free time in legal advising. He would also like to travel with his wife and get to know his home country of Mexico better.
Director of Communications