The Samaritan Purse Field Hospital in Central Park Has Found an “Unlikely Champion”

Samaritan Purse

I took some heat for this post.  I still stand by it.

I am guessing that my post might get the support of Whitney Tilson.  He is a 53-year-old retired hedge fund manager who lives in New York City.  His wife is Jewish and they have raised both of their kids in the faith. He is liberal on most social issues.  He has also been one of the most committed and dedicated volunteers at the Samaritan Purse field hospital in Central Park.

Here is a taste of Yonat Shimron’s piece on Tilson at Religion News Service:

In the course of the past four weeks, Tilson, who is not religious and had never heard of Franklin Graham, the conservative Christian leader of Samaritan’s Purse, has become one of the field hospital’s most dedicated volunteers and champions.

He’s befriended many of the staff, donated shovels and sleds to help spread 2 tons of mulch across the muddy lawn in between the tents, and gifted thousands of dollars worth of bananas, apples, Starbucks Frappuccinos, soda, potato chips and other snacks to those looking after the sick.

“It’s an incredibly impressive organization,” said Tilson, 53, a retired hedge fund manager who writes an investment newsletter. “I have no doubt they are delivering world-class critical care to my fellow New Yorkers stricken with COVID-19. Every single person I’ve met has been a genuinely nice person and very competent and good at their job.”

And this:

In this time of growing polarization and identity politics, Tilson has stood his ground, even as it has cost him some friendships.

He and his wife, who is Jewish, have been members of Central Synagogue, one of the city’s oldest Jewish congregations, for 20 years — rearing their three daughters in the faith.

But Tilson, who said his views about same-sex marriage (as well as his views on Muslims and abortion) are “polar opposite” those of Graham, has continued to defend his volunteer work.

“I’m supporting a hospital that is saving people’s lives,” he said. “I’m not endorsing the ideology of the founder of the organization.”

In recent weeks, Tilson has offered the use of his address for any of the field hospital crew who would like to receive mail while they’re working at the hospital. He’s also made available four bicycles for their use and emailed them some trails they might like to use around the park.

Last week he took a call from Graham, who wanted to thank him for his volunteer efforts.

“He’s a great human being,” Graham said of Tilson. “He might disagree with me, and I might disagree with him, but that’s not going to stop us from working together to help people.”

Graham even invited Tilson to come down to North Carolina to tour the organization’s headquarters.

Tilson said he plans to take him up on the offer. He’s a businessman and he likes to study what he called “high-performing organizations.”

Read the entire piece here.