On Saturday August 15th, Reuben Kangogo passed away from complications related to COVID-19. In a moment, the daily barrage of statistics on infection rate and death count became real to us. Nothing. Not careful COVID-19 protocols nor scenario planning, prepared us for the pain of this loss. In Reuben, we say goodbye to our friend, our colleague, and a true champion of global health.
Reuben was the operations leader for Medtronic LABS, Africa. Everyday, he fought to bring healthcare services to underserved patients in Kenya and Ghana. His cheerful refrain was “chapa kazi, samba kazi”, encouraging us to keep up our impactful work. While our grief still stings, we promise to rebound and do as he did: to work tirelessly for the most vulnerable among us and to do so with joy, calm, and humility. We dedicate our progress in the coming years to his memory.
Medtronic LABS honored Reuben in a memorial service on August 20th, and we share a few heartfelt tributes here:
“Dear Reuben, we will forever remember you. Your joyous spirit and your calm optimism will always be our inspiration… even as we bid you farewell today. Rest in peace… dear friend.”
“Reuben, I was blessed to have the honor of hiring you and working with you daily. Your drive for action, your gentle spirit and harmonizing personality brought our team together. You instilled in us the understanding that we can do what is so challenging, and we can do it as we build the team up, individually and together. Your team says you were their best manager. You gave us your best, Reuben, you were our champion and we will keep your vision and big plans in motion. Chapa Kazi…dear friend…that is what we shall do in your honor.”
“Your great value of love, wisdom, honesty, faith, respect and hard work will always be remembered. We will dearly miss you. We cherish the memories and loving moments that we had together and thank God for the time we shared with you. You bid no one a last farewell. Not even a good-bye. You were gone before we knew it and only God knows why. We will dearly miss you. In God’s hands you rest. In our hearts you live forever.”
“Reuben’s life and work touched us in lasting and impactful ways. It is sad to say goodbye to a man whose legacy we all feel. He was a dedicated and exceptional leader whose passion and bravery in the line of duty was supreme. Reuben as my immediate supervisor and manager, and was dependable, approachable and always endeavored to put things right. I thank Almighty God for the gift of his life and leadership to us. I pray to God to grant his immediate family, larger Medtronic Labs family, and friends, courage and fortitude during this moment of mourning. May his soul rest in eternal peace.”