The mission of the Louis August Jonas Foundation is to develop in promising young people from around the world a lifelong commitment to compassionate and responsible leadership for the betterment of their communities and the world. We do this at Camp by fostering an appreciation of both diversity and our common humanity, expanding intellectual horizons and heightening artistic sensibilities. Our mission is woven into all activities which develop leadership abilities and self-reliance. Camp offers and demonstrates a philosophy of living to serve society through the pursuit of humanitarian goals. Camp affects the lives of our campers in different ways, but the lesson to give and be in service is a mainstay. Freddy played a consistent role in many CRS camper’s lives, and in carrying his legacy. LAJF wants our campers to remain campers-for-life. Foo Guey is a clear example of a camper-for-life.
Foo Guey came of age in postwar New York, attending Morris High School in a rough section of The Bronx. Freddy used to travel around the world to handpick campers for Camp Rising Sun, and one day he came to Foo’s school. Hoping to be accepted, Foo gave him an essay he had written on the meaning of life and what we must leave for the next generation. Freddy was impressed enough to admit him.
“I was not an outstanding camper,” remembers Foo. “I was not the smartest.” He was the oldest in a family of five children, raised by a father who worked as a laundryman. “I was the oldest son and had to struggle hard all my life,” he says. Foo has fond memories of Camp Rising Sun, where he says he developed his philosophy of life: that it is better to give than receive.
Freddy helped Foo receive a scholarship to Columbia University from New York City Mayor Robert Wagner. Foo’s father wanted him to be a pharmacist, but with Freddy’s guidance and the inspiration of an aunt in China who was a doctor, he decided to set a higher goal for himself and instead go to medical school. He did his training at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and began practicing internal medicine. In addition to attending at Beth Israel Hospital, he also became an Assistant Professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
When Foo married his wife Remy in 1967, Freddy attended their wedding. There was no girls Camp at the time Foo attended, but Remy became so familiar with the camp through her husband that Freddy used to joke that she was the one who went to CRS. The couple had three children together –Theresa (a finance expert), Rebecca (a journalist and author), and Michael (a doctor who specializes in public health and AIDS prevention).
Over the years, Foo and Freddy met up from time to time to have dinner and reminisce. “Freddy was like a father to me,” Foo says. “He meant a lot to us.” They grew so close that it was Foo who brought Freddy home from the hospital soon before he died and tried to make sure he was comfortable in his last days.
Foo retired in 1998 at the age of 59 after a heart attack that required a 6-vessel bypass surgery. Looking back on his long and fruitful life, he remains nostalgic about his camp days. “What I learned from the camp stayed with me.”