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Life Is
A visit to a cemetery brings Akeem Mostamandy closer to the living.

By Akeem Mostamandy

Yesterday, I ventured out on my lunch. It started out as an uneventful trip to grab a sandwich, and feel the brisk September air.

I called my wife to see how she was feeling. On my right, I passed Alta Mesa Memorial park in Palo Alto. I looked over at Alta Mesa and asked Nicole, "I wonder if Doug Franco is here?" To which she replied, " ...Probably, how many cemeteries could there be in Palo Alto?" So I grabbed the sandwich, and on my way back to work turned into Alta Mesa to ask the manager "Is my friend Doug Franco here?"

She pulled up the coordinates of his burial site, and showed me a picture of his headstone which reads:

"Doug Franco: sweet loving husband & father of 3 sons. 1948-2011"

I sat down and had lunch with Doug. My long-lost friend who shared my passion to protect helpless orphans. I met Doug after he answered the call of a desperate dentist on the outskirts of Kabul. The dentist used a Honda Prelude seat to recline his patients. The good folks at USF Medical Center identified an alumnus who promptly donated two dentist chairs!  Dentist chairs, as it turns out, have a 500-pound lead base. My fearless leader Doug Franco stepped up to help load and deliver the chairs to the clinic on the outskirts of Kabul.

He helped save so many lives, and I loved that glimmer in his eyes after a long day of loading shipping containers. We shared a vision to reduce suffering and infant mortality. Now my friend Doug has passed away.

Since 1904, Alta Mesa Memorial Park has been the final resting place for some of the most prominent names in the Valley.  For instance, the late Hewlett-Packard co-founder David Packard and his charitable wife Lucile are buried here, in addition to music legend and founding Grateful Dead keyboardist Ron "Pigpen" McKernan.

Such a suitable place for Doug Franco, the Stanford-educated electrical engineering under grad with a MBA from Harvard.

Rumor has it that there is a new headstone in the works that reads:

"Your time is limited. So don't waste it living someone else's life." Just below it in smaller font it will contain Steve Jobs' initials: "SPJ 2011." Not even an iconic Apple, just simple...like Doug.

With a Perspective, I'm Akeem Mostamandy.

Akeem Mostamandy manages field operations for a San Jose-based software company and volunteers for an international organization caring for Afghanistan orphans.

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