Tampa Bay Indian community awards heroes

05/16/11 Andrea Lypka
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The Tampa Bay Indian community honored its volunteers on May 15 at the Indian Cultural Center. They are committed to care for the helpless, forsaken, mentally ill, old and sick people. One of the honorees is Narayanan Krishnan who grew up in Madurai, India. At the age of 19 he was working as a chef for a five star hotel. But his career took a turn in 2002.

“I saw a very, very old man eating his own human waste for food,” Krishnan said.

He never left to Switzerland to work as a cook. Instead, he started to cook for that man and for many others. He even got help: in 2003, the public started contributing for the cost and he could do more for the people living in the streets of Madurai. When he saw that no barber wanted to cut the people’s hair, he started to cut their hair, shave them, bathe them, and even managed to get authorities cremate those who died on the streets.

“So far, 486 souls who died on the road, had been cremated,” he said.

Taking care of the mentally ill and the needy is the mission of his nonprofit organization Akshaya.

“I want them to have a hope to live for,” he said. “I want to give them physical and mental nutrition.”

Thanks to the community support, Krishnan says that since 2002 he has not skipped once to feed the needy.

“We have fed close to 1.7 million meals. This is only because of public support and indulgence,” he said.

One of the local honorees was Dr. Kiran Patel philanthropist and cardiologist. His generosity spans across the world: he has built an orphanage at Shinoy village, and numerous hospitals and a school in India, he has established the Hope Scholarship for the poor children in America, donated for the University of South Florida and has also been instrumental in building the Indian Community Center in Tampa.

“I am trying to do my best in whatever form I can,” he said.

Dr. Patel says that Krishnan’s volunteerism stimulates the community.

“Every human being in his heart has the willingness to do something. It just needs a trigger and some kind of motivation to take that thought to action and hopefully actions like these will motivate people to change,” he said.

See photos

Video of the Top 10 CNN Hero Narayanan Krishnan

Photo Gallery of the Event

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