Father Victor Lopez (B.S. ’70) and this child, one of hundreds of thousands of Haitian children who live in poverty, spent a few hours together during a recent trip. Lopez’s team provided basic medical check-ups, wound care, hygiene education, infection control, and blood pressure, cardio, and blood glucose checks.
After a 30-year career working for some of the world’s richest people, Father Victor Lopez (B.S. ’70) made a life-changing decision that gave him new insight into the true value of a dollar.
Lopez attended NYIT in the late 1960s, in part because it provided an affordable education. Moonlighting as an electrician to pay his way through school, he says NYIT “prepared me for what I had to do in the real world.”
First up after college were jobs at two New York accounting firms, with a clientele that included John Lennon and Paul Simon. Next was work as a senior tax accountant for Rockefeller Center Inc. and the Rockefeller family during the time Nelson Rockefeller was vice president of the United States. Four years later, Lopez became director of taxes at Warner Amex Cable Communications, which launched Nickelodeon and MTV during his watch. He ended his successful tax career and life as “Mr. Corporate New York,” as he calls it, working with Lewis Katz, co-owner of the New York Yankees, New Jersey Nets, and New Jersey Devils, as his personal tax advisor.
In 1999, Lopez left New York for Florida. “I was content to play golf, fly my plane, and kick back,” he says. “And then God called.” Eight years later, he was ordained an Anglican Catholic priest. “This is much better,” he says of his new vocation. “I give of myself, and I get so much more back.”
Now, instead of tax strategy and structuring acquisitions, he works in hospitals and food kitchens in Lake Worth, Fla., where he also raises money to help the people of Haiti. “I’m a much different person these days,” says Lopez. “I’m trying to get people on the fringes what they need to survive.”
In July, he celebrated his 62nd birthday on a medical mission to Haiti and is planning another one in March, when he hopes to start a long-term pharmaceutical program with Haitian- Americans and a company in Florida. In additional to medical care, Lopez works to provide school supplies and pay for students’ tuition, both of which cost $8 or less a year per child, and supports a Catholic orphanage.
“This is not big money,” he says, adding that the reward of mission work is better than any job he’s had. Lopez adds that he is impressed with the Haitians’ dignity, faith, and love, which “seemed totally out of place with the devastation that surrounded them.” During visits to the country, he says he expected despair but saw only hope.
“I now work with people who aren’t looking for money, but rather spiritual guidance,” says Lopez. “Haiti is on our doorstep, and I have vowed not to let the cry of the Haitian people, their hope, or their faith go unanswered.”
Still, the former Mr. Corporate New York is in demand. He was recently offered two high-level positions that “took me less than two seconds to decline,” he says. “I’ll spend the rest of my life caring for God’s people.”