Katsuhito Torii escaped the horrors of the March earthquake and tsunami, but he couldn’t sit idly while other people helped those that were negatively affected.
Instead, the single dad sent his daughter off to his mom’s house and headed to the local school. As a carpenter, there were many things he could do to help improve the quality of life for those using the local school as an evacuation shelter. He built privacy walls, an outdoor shed for a washing machine and sinks, and collected water from a spring since the school initially had no water.
Katsuhito also burned through his life savings buying small things like cooking supplies and food, and bigger things like a Nintendo Wii for the kids and costumes so he could entertain the kids at night.
In his small town of Miyako, 420 people died, 3670 homes were destroyed, and 1170 people were left homeless out of a population of 60,000.
Katsuhio calls his decision to be a volunteer a “no-brainer.” He is now leaving the shelter to return to work. As a carpenter, he will be busy rebuilding the town.
Still, most people in the same situation wouldn’t voluntarily deplete their bank account to help make the lives of strangers marginally better in what is still a horrible situation. The fact that he stuck with it for three months and says he will continue visiting daily even after he goes back to work.. that’s in a category by itself.
Katsuhito says “I want to keep being involved. If I do, I will feel the connection to the people and this place.”
I hope to meet people like Katsuhio during The Happy Nomad Tour. I really want to understand how people can be so selfless and compassionate. Imagine if everyone was as selfless and compassionate as Katsuhio.
This story was inspired from this article.