Anxiously at peace

Is that title a bit oxymoronic? I suppose so, but it truly is what I’m feeling at the moment. Two weeks from today I begin my journey as a PULSE volunteer, as I leave comforts of Bloomington, Indiana (population 83,500) and home and head to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, population of 17,000,000 or so for the next six months. It will be a steep learning curve to be sure as I adjust to urban life in a place where I don’t even have an elementary grasp of the language (yet). Many people have asked me how nervous I am or if I’m scared at all, and they are surprised when I say, “No.” and, frankly, so am I to a degree.

I am blessed to be working with PATH, an organization steeped in 40 years of innovation in the non-profit sector. We will continue to build on the work that they have been doing for last year and a half  to develop a highly effective hypertension and cardiovascular disease awareness campaign resulting in positive changes and long term improvement in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases throughout Vietnam. The level of expertise that PATH bring to the project steadies the nerves and gives me great confidence.

Billy Graham once said, “I don’t know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.” And I firmly believe that my faith is what is keeping me calm as I prepare for the challenges that will surely present themselves during this assignment. I have a great sense of peace about the travel, the accommodations, the food, the culture, and the work that I will be doing with PATH. I’ve not deluded myself into thinking that I won’t be stretched to my limit at times, but I confidently say, “I accept this challenge and will do my absolute best to make great things happen for the citizenry of Vietnam, for PATH and GSK, and for myself.

Stay tuned for my next installment.

Cho đến lần sau,




  1. Tommy – What an incredible adventure and opportunity for growth are ahead for you! Looking forward to following your journey – Good luck & happy travels!

  2. Tommy you will do great. I can relate to your feeling as this time last year I prepared myself to go from a simple life in California to living amongst 8 million people in Hanoi Vietnam. Look forward to following your journey.

  3. Tommy – it was great meeting you at the ADP session in Americas training for PULSE. You are going to love Vietnam – I adore the place, the people and the food. Whilst I’ve only been to Hanoi and the North, you should enjoy great people. Look up the GM (James Strenner) – I am sure that he and the local office will treat the GSK employees well if you go for a visit. Best of luck and I look forward to following your journey. As they say in the local language: Chúc may mắn và ăn cũng

    1. Thanks a million. Don’t worry, I plan on a great culinary experience while there.
      I wish you great success as well

  4. Tommy, so excited for you my friend. You have dreamed about and planned for this opportunity for quite some time now and finally it is here. Can’t wait to follow you. Love the first blog. And my advice, having done this before, is to keep your blogs about this size (perfect). Can’t wait to see photos along the way! Send out your link to many so we can experience Vietnam vicariously. You will “be the change”.

  5. Tommy-you have Accepted the Challenge, committed to this journey and you will do great! You have the right attitude and because of your faith the journey will be awesome. Looking forward to hearing from you throughout your endeavor.

  6. Tommy, I love the fact that you mentioned your faith in God. He is the one that has given you this opportunity to be of help to others. I am so proud of you and excited as well because I know how exciting this is for you. We will definitely miss you here on Indiana and hope you come back. Right now I’m not so sure. Lol.

  7. You have a way with meaningful and powerful quotes, Tommy! 🙂 And I love your feature image of your cartoon self! Enjoy every step that comes with accepting this challenge that is PULSE, and cherish all the learnings that will inevitably come your way, from the wacky to the inspirational… It’ll be great material for your stand-up comedy act!!

  8. Tommy, well written! I can’t imagine getting ready to embark on such a journey; I’m excited for you and can’t wait to read your future blogs and see this journey through your eyes!

  9. Tommy, congratulations on this amazing journey you are about to embark upon! You have been preparing yourself for this event as long as I have known you. I cannot wait to read your blogs as you make your way. All my best!

  10. Tommy, how exciting! I am confident that you will meet this challenge with your strong faith and skills to help people in need. Your background in education in cardiovascular and diabetes is outstanding. I look forward to hearing how the pulse assignment has impacted your life and how you can help share that with others.

  11. T–kick buttocks! (metaphorically speaking) I know that you will, my brother, because you have been well trained.

  12. Tommy, I too, am so happy for you! You’ve been waiting for this incredible opportunity for a long time. I know that you will make GSK proud as you represent us with PATH, and most importantly, you will share your special gifts with a very needy organization, and people. I’ll be praying for you over your next 6 months…I wish you all the best on your PULSE assignment, god-speed, and most of all, enjoy every second, and live in every moment!!!

  13. Tommy – Wow! So excited for you and proud that you will be representing GSK in this way and helping in a role it seems you are so cut out for! I can’t wait to read your blogs! Praying for you all the way, for a safe journey and to help many – not just those there but also all of us that will be enriched through your experience. Godspeed!!!

  14. Tommy-It was great to catch up before you departed. Best wishes to you as you kick butt during this exciting chapter. Safe travels and happy, healthy roads ahead, my friend.

    1. Thanks, my brother. Appreciate the support and encouragement. Look forward to catching up with you when I get back home.

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