‘Kaka’: A force to reckon with it’s been a year since kaka, as we lovingly called our dynamic chairman Ramesh Patel, left us. But what he has left behind is a void that can never be filled. Besides being an honest and committed community leader, kaka was a storehouse of wisdom and knowledge.

This, combined with his years of experience and statesmanship, made him a force to reckon with. I have fond memories of conversations, sometimes arguments, with him.

His words in Gujarati “Taaro kaako betho chhe (your uncle is here to support you)” continue to give me the strength I seek during moments of self-doubt. Encouraging others came naturally to him. There was never a dull moment with him. After his untimely demise, when I was elected to take his place, I knew I had big shoes to fill. His absence was acutely felt in this one year, which has been a roller coaster. However, with his blessings, FIA has kept up the momentum and made progress. FIA continues to stay focused and determined to provide help to communities in need during the pandemic here in the USA as well as in our motherland, India. Numerous concrete and consolidated Covidrelated actions have been taken up, including aid and relief efforts, be it in the form of medical equipment or direct donations.

FIA is among the top-tier non-profit organizations in the USA leading the efforts and doing its bit for the society. The fact that Covid snatched kaka from us kept prodding us constantly to do our best to assist those fighting Covid and help them win.

I am sure kaka is in a better place. May the lord bestow upon him eternal peace and calm… Om Shanti!

Ankur Vaidya

Chairman, FIA

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