Why does an M.D. stop practicing medicine to become a full-time volunteer working on public education?
"I quickly became disenchanted with medicine," says Abraham. "The problem is, medicine makes people better, but it doesn't make better people. If you're a jerk with appendicitis, and we remove your appendix... well, you're still a jerk.
"I chose medicine because I wanted to save the world. If quitting a good job to chase dreams sounds quixotic, you might say it's actually the family vocation," he chuckles. "My Dad, after a typical rag-to-riches story, gave up his share in a rapidly-expanding commercial concern to enter the ministry, and my mother supported him 100% in that. Likewise, my sister cashed in her time with a Fortune 500 company to adopt and raise my two nieces. I suppose my brother's the only normal one. He has a regular job and salary.
"Anyway, I came back to Acadiana after the oilbust, to see what I could do to help out. I loved the community here, and I loved the University of Louisiana. When I came back, a local oilman had just begun raising the first $10 million for the University Foundation. I started to realize that public education was the one social program we had that could really change kids' lives, and maybe through them, the world. And then some of us started asking if we could create a foundation for public education. We think the AEE was the first comprehensive endowment for public education in the world.
"That was 13 long, long years ago." Then he notes with amusement, "It's called 'The Acadiana Educational Endowment,' but I suppose that I'm the one getting the education."
To read more about the AEE, visit their website.