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Good Samaritans continue spreading love

By Liu Zhihua (China Daily)

10:12, May 14, 2012

Gu Milan consoles children of migrant families at Leizu Primary School in quake-hit Yangting county, Mianyang (Photo/China Daily)

May 12, 2008 changed the lives of many in Sichuan province due to the massive earthquake. For then successful businesswoman, Gu Milan, her life took an about turn and changed her vocation.

She was going about life as usual in downtown Mianyang when the earthquake hit nine counties of Mianyang, Sichuan province.

"All the victims looked lost, their eyes were full of despair and panic," the 42-year-old recalls.

Driven by compassion and without thinking through, Gu helped deliver relief supplies to victims, listened and consoled as many as she could. Her calmness and determination caught the attention of the authorities, who appointed her as a volunteer leader.

On May 13 afternoon, with a piece of cardboard from an instant noodle box, Gu wrote "Wanmei Chuntian (literary meaning perfect spring) Team of Chinese Volunteers" using her lipstick and eyebrow pencil, and formed the first organized voluntary team for Sichuan earthquake.

Realizing the chaotic situation at Jiuzhou Stadium refugee shelter, she started pulling in and organizing the other volunteers to have a systematic distribution of relief supplies to the casualties.

"When I saw anyone who did not look injured, I asked him or her to join the team to register victims and distribute relief supplies," Gu shares.

There were also many, upon seeing her cardboard sign, who voluntarily joined the team. The group expanded quickly and before long, had some 30,000 volunteers, who worked round the clock.

"We hardly had time to drink water, let alone the time to have a good rest. But nothing could stop us then and I will never forget those days. I was deeply impressed by the devotion of the volunteers," Gu says.

The team was the last to retreat, even after all the refugees had left. Gu says she has never regretted abandoning her thriving business to commit her time and energy in the operation of Wanmei Chuntian.

"Before the earthquake, I didn't know anything about volunteer work. Now I know," she says.

"We realize that if every one is prepared to lend a hand to those in need, the society will be in perfect spring forever."

The organization has only 12 staff members, five of whom are full-time, but has hundreds of thousands of registered members, including enterprises. Mostly are still in contact and could be mobilized in time of emergency.

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