Helen Recto Zamora’s Enduring Legacy of Kindness

“When my friends tell me that they remember my mother, Helen, they always say she was so well dressed and always beautifully made up.  Her children remember her differently.  She had equanimity, a calm way of looking at the world.  But inside, she was made of steel, a courageous woman who had a brilliant mind but stayed home because that was what was expected of her.”

Ms Helen Recto-ZamoraGina Zamora Cowell describes her mother Helen Recto Zamora from a perspective that is both proud and practical. She is aware of her mother’s generosity to her family – Helen became the mom of her own six brothers when they were orphaned in her teens. In turn, her brothers had enduring devotion to her; even giving way to her decisions on grown-up matters because “sabi ni Helen.”  

Helen’s granddaughter Katherine Zamora-Alejo was also affected by the generosity of her lola. Katherine’s earliest memories of Helen Recto Zamora centered around her playing Mahjong and often winning large amounts (which she recorded in red ink in her diary). “I figured that she was good at this game, as she seemed to win quite often. I also had the notion that she enjoyed the money from her winnings.  But I was wrong. It was only after she had passed away that I came to realize how big and generous Lola’s heart was.  After she died, Lola had set aside a fair amount of money to be used for charitable purposes.  Little did I know that I would be an indirect beneficiary of this.”

When Katherine graduated from Med School and went through her internship and residency, she found herself treating patients from the poorest sectors of society at the Philippine General Hospital.  Because of this, she often had to tap into the funds that Lola Helen left behind. “Without her knowing, Lola has helped many of my patients recover from a life-threatening infection, or have helped them out in their battle against cancer.”

But Helen Recto Zamora’s generosity and caring extended beyond her family. Judge Natividad Almeda-Lopez, one of Gota de Leche’s most active presidents, is her aunt. It was only logical to donate to the country’s oldest charitable institution in her name because of familial ties.  Gina Zamora Cowell shares how “she always wanted to help people without even being asked.  Her husband Didy told her at his deathbed to always feed the hungry, and she passed this on to her children and grandchildren.”

Last May 25, a generous donation to Gota de Leche’s Program 1 (Milk Distribution) was turned over by the relatives of Helen Recto Zamora and the staff of Silver Finance to dozens of Gota’s special-needs kids. The involvement of Mrs Zamora’s descendants was a legacy that Ms Gina Zamora Cowell wanted to continue. “We are good parents and our children are good because of Mammy. She would be very happy to know that this legacy continues with the donation to Gota de Leche.” 

Officers and staff of Gota thank Gina Zamora CowellKatherine Zamora-Alejo adds: “These two ladies (her Lola and Judge Almeda-Lopez), though polar opposites in terms of career paths and accomplishments, have one thing in common – their heart.  They opened their hearts to share their love, care and concern for those who had less in life – be it through the law or through other means. This donation is a fitting gesture to honor the legacy of our Lola Helen – someone who gave up so much for others, someone that her grandchildren look up to and wish to emulate.”