By Joe Passantino
BAYONNE â€“ Jude Tiner wants to leave a legacy. And heâ€™s looking for Bayonneâ€™s and Hudson Countyâ€™s help to do so.
The Bayonne native has been a big supporter of Tekno Tropheo, a religious mission in Occidental Mindoro, the Philippines, which cares for 50 children five years old and older. Tiner became enamored with the facility when visiting there in 2006.
Located in the Abra de ilog, the area was once known for its mining of gold. Local tribal people called the Mangyans live modestly in the town.
Tinerâ€™s interest in Tekno Tropheo was spurred after he heard about it from his church at the time, Iglesia De Doicos Pentacostle on Prospect Avenue. He was told about a young girl with a genetic heart disease who would not live much longer if she did not get a heart procedure, one she could not get in Asia.
â€œI was interested in helping, so I told people, â€˜Iâ€™m going to the Philippines,â€™â€ Tiner said. â€œTwo days later, I was there.â€
During 2006 and â€˜07, Tinerâ€™s efforts to help Meraly Mariano became a crusade. He enlisted the help of Bayonn ites and other New Jerseyans for her transportation to the United States and her housing while here for her procedure. The Bayonne Rotary Club, the city of Bayonne and others supported his effort. St. Josephâ€™s Childrenâ€™s Hospital in Paterson agreed to perform the surgery at no charge.
â€œIt was heartbreaking,â€ Tiner said of Merlay. â€œHer mother died after her birth. The kids in her family went through tough times. But she held it together.â€
All went well with Merlayâ€™s operation. She has recovered well, is now a teenager, and continues to thrive.
Inspired by Tekno Tropheo and how it serves children, Tiner recently began a campaign to ensure the mission can continue with its good work. But his effort is complicated because Tiner has liver cancer and is not sure how much longer he will live.
An Army veteran who served during the Vietnam War, Tiner believes he contracted his illness from the Agent Orange toxin which was sprayed during the conflict in Southeast Asia.
Initial medical treatments were not successful, and Tiner has been receiving natural remedies. He is not sure what the final outcome will be, but said that while he is alive, his energies will be directed to supporting his beloved Tekno Tropheo.
Tiner said he does not want his fund drive to focus on his personal plight, but instead on those in the orphanage.
â€œItâ€™s not about me, itâ€™s about the children in the Philippines,â€ he said. â€œYou know itâ€™s all about the children. My only concern is to keep funds coming into the mission after I canâ€™t any longer.â€
Tiner said that Tekno Tropheo is Greek and means â€œbringing children to total development.â€ He wants that development to continue for those in its care. He is confident that will be the case.
â€œSo far, the Bayonne people have been very good to them,â€ Tiner said. â€œTheyâ€™ve gotten a van for them, and a water tower that provides the means for them to shower and wash dishes.â€
But donations to fund operations for the children at the mission are still necessary, and will be ongoing.
â€œThey need everything,â€ Tiner said. â€œThese kids walk around in loincloths. They donâ€™t get any gifts for Christmas.â€ Occasional care packages and candy from Tiner help, but do not bridge the gap of their needs.
But Tinerâ€™s support of Tekno Tropheo has been complicated recently because of his illness. He likely will never visit there again. He lives in Thailand, and to get to the mission it is a three-hour flight and a five-hour car ride.
Tiner is effusive in his backing of the childrenâ€™s mission. He seeks no sympathy for himself, only the support of his beloved Tekno Tropheo.
â€œIâ€™m not concerned about me,â€ he said. â€œIâ€™m more concerned about the children. I want this mission to continue forever.â€
Tiner said that any donations of all sizes are needed to help the children he cares about so much. He encourages the people of Bayonne and Hudson County, who have helped so much in the past, to contribute once again.
â€œThey are wonderful, wonderful people there,â€ he said. â€œThey have nothing, yet they manage to smile.â€
Those who want to support the facility are urged to send donations to Tekno Tropheo Mission, c/o Cecile Maravillas, 53 Henry St., Jersey City, NJ 07306. For more information, call Maravillas at (201) 920-1947.