Orphan Helpers lost a great friend this past week. Lt. Col. (Ret) Brian Allen died last Friday after a brief illness. His work touched the lives of countless abandoned children and forgotten youth.
Brian was involved with Orphan Helpers from its inception. He went with our founder, Greg Garrett, on the first mission trip in 2000 to government-run orphanages in El Salvador where our work began. During the course of the next 12 years, he organized, led, and participated in more than 15 trips to share Christ’s love with the orphaned, abused, and incarcerated youth of Central America.
Brian served on the Orphan Helpers Board of Directors for many years and was always a joyful, generous, and positive contributor to advancing our mission. After 22 years in the Air Force and 17 years as a defense contractor, Brian joined Orphan Helpers in 2012 as a full-time volunteer. Over the past five years, he gladly took on many important responsibilities within the organization, including preparing budgets, handling finances, updating policies, improving programs, translating for staff, and even serving as interim Director.
Brian was a very generous and selfless man. As a full-time volunteer, he said he would work for a salary of $1 per year. Many jokes ensued in staff and board meetings about how Orphan Helpers needed to double or triple his salary for all his work. Truthfully, he never took a dime. Instead he just gave and kept on giving his time and his own finances to support the mission.
Brian was humble and faithful in serving our Lord and others. He was in the office every work day – more than eight hours a day – unless he was traveling or had other commitments with his church or barbershop chorus. He went above and beyond the call of duty.
Brian also loved language, having studied Spanish in Barcelona during college and earning a Master of Arts in Spanish Literature. His knowledge of Spanish was a huge asset to Orphan Helpers, both in leading mission trips and in our office. Using his Spanish language skills, he built strong relationships with our Spanish-speaking staff in El Salvador and Honduras.
All of us at Orphan Helpers will greatly miss Brian, his love and friendship, his service and dedication, and his faith and works. We pray for Brian’s wife Julie of 44 years and their three grown children who fully supported and participated in his volunteer work with us.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, March 4, at 2 p.m. at First United Methodist Church of Fox Hill in Hampton. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Orphan Helpers or First UMC Fox Hill.