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Filipino American History Month | Meet the Virginia Beach man still aiding his home country

Edd Basilio said he's gone on roughly two dozen international trips to aid in Operation Smile's initiative to fix cleft lip and palate conditions.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — If age is just a number, Edd Basilio is the first one to tell you: making a difference can come at any age. 

Basilio, 70, calls Virginia Beach his home, but his roots are global, as a native of the Philippines born into a Navy family. But after retiring from the Navy, Basilio found a new career in helping aid others.

"The dental trips were my responsibilities to order dental supplies, coordinate dental instruments to bring to the country," he said.

Since 1996, Ed is a man behind the scenes, who’s embarked to countries across the world with Operation Smile to assist their efforts to fix cleft lip and palate conditions.

“At the time, the first two years was about medical records. Later on, I was the coordinator of admissions in Cavite [province]. Then for the 20th anniversary, I was on the hospital plane in Cebu [City]," he said.

For almost three decades, Edd's work has taken him on roughly two dozen international trips including his home county, and the country where Operation Smile first began its operations to fix cleft lip and palate conditions. 

“I was excited to go to the Philippines because that’s where I was born," he said. 

With each trip, he said he's grown a special bond with the child patients. 

"They know they’re very shy, but interactively they’ll interact with you, because you’ve accepted them. It’s like you’re kids afterwards, because of those interactions with kids with cleft conditions," he said.

When he's not overseas, you'll often find him packaging medical and supply kits to be distributed across the globe. 

Edd said he's totaled about eight medical and dental trips to the Philippines through his Operation Smile work. 

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