Facebook/Andrew with his "son" Cosmas
Reality TV's Bachelor, Dr. Andy Baldwin and why he's still running.
This is not a story about former Bachelor Dr. Andrew Baldwin’s latest sex tape. This is not a story about Andy’s quest to compete on Dancing with the Stars. This is not a story about a recent trip to rehab, or all the speculations of his post celeb-reality paparazzi hunting.
As much as it may disappoint you all, this is not a story about a woman who finally wrangled “The Officer and a Gentleman” Andy into settling down into domesticated bliss, ala Ryan and Trista. Remember them? Seemingly the ONLY Reality TV couple who have lived happily ever after. Nope, not this story!
On a windy tropical spring day in 2007, Naval medical officer Dr. Andrew Baldwin got down on one knee and proposed to Tessa Horst, a woman he’d met and promptly fallen in love with just a few months prior on national television. Because that seems like a great idea!?!
This All-American athlete, raised Catholic in Lancaster, PA. by a farmer and a math teacher, was his high school’s valedictorian, graduated from Duke on a Navy ROTC scholarship, excelled as a triathlete and is absolutely an over-achiever.
“One of the main reasons I went on The Bachelor was because my younger brother got married, and it seemed like marriage was what I was supposed to do next.”
Boy haven't we all been there?!?!
Tessa said yes. The wind blew through their flowing locks and reality TV trumpets hailed victory.
“My life really all came to a head when I was on TV. I was on top of the world, with The Bachelor, and I had all this fame, but it was fleeting. Going through that gauntlet of an experience made me realize what is really important.”
During his deployment Andy came off his scripteality romantic high and began to realize that the settling down wasn’t ever going to work for him. He traveled around the world as a member of the Navy’s Global Force for Good, experiencing first hand just how far from televised luxurious adventures and paparazzi the rest of the world was living.
“I learned a lot about myself through that whole experience. I’d done a lot of charity work before, but really the springboard The Bachelor had was powerful. Being able to flip it and use it to help others is where I really realized the point of being on TV.”
When Andy was in Laos he treated hundreds of children with gastrointestinal worms which robbed them of the basic nutrition they needed to grow and develop. “It became very clear for the tremendous need for basic medical care. All it took was one Mebendazole pill that cost less than a penny to save these kids’ lives.”
Getting away from the impersonal, insurance company, paperwork driven side of the medical system, Andy developed his “raw medicine” skills. In the field he was forced to use what was on hand in order to treat patients and realized how basic the needs of life actually are.
“There is nothing as helpless as the feeling of having a child die in your arms who could have been saved by the most rudimentary of resources. Oxygen, clean water, saline solution, basic medicine. Having your hands tied and not having the supplies to save a life is crushing.”
In 2010 Andy went on a life defining mission to Kenya with Team Worldvision, an organization that brings basic supplies and clean water to children throughout the world. They recruited Andy’s support at a marathon. (Of course.)
He immediately sponsored a little boy, Cosmas, orphaned by HIV/AIDS, and
for around $35.00 a month provided basic food and water for Cosmas. Andy headed
out with a team of other marathoning do-gooders to visit Cosmas’ remote village of Bartabwa. Greeted by enthusiastic villagers, many of whom had never seen white people before, Andy was immediately moved by the benevolence of the people and a tremendous sense of generosity amidst absolute devastation. Andy scanned the crowd looking for Cosmas, when his eyes landed on a skinny, sad eyed little boy sitting away from the crowd.
“He was shell shocked. He was this little kid, five years old, who walked around eight miles a day to carry a bucket of dirty water back to his village and there were all these people excited about something he couldn’t possibly understand.”
Andy had brought Cosmas gifts, but quickly realized that it would take a lot more than a doll and sunglasses to gain his trust. This child like so many others, was raised not by his parents, who had both died of HIV AIDS,
but by his community and he lacked the proper nutrition to grow, or the confidence
life had any longevity.
Andy was struck by the irony of the imbalance of nutrition in the world. ”In the United States, we have an epidemic of childhood obesity, because our poorest kids don’t get proper nutrition. In Africa and other third world countries, we have kids who don’t have enough calories to survive.“
Back in the US, Andy paired up with ING’s Run for Something Better, and speaks throughout the US on childhood obesity and proper nutrition. He ran the 2010 ING NYC Marathon and is returning to run in 2011. ING’s Run for Something Better is a nation-wide nonprofit campaign to promote fitness and prevent childhood obesity.
So what now? What does a reality TV celebrity, over-achieving, Iron Man competing humanitarian doctor do with a public forum and the responsibility of the world’s malnutrition on his shoulders? He plans to run back-to-back marathons on two continents after he goes back to Africa to spend a month
working at a clinic providing prenatal and perinatal care.
What else would he do?
It’s important to know that Andy is not a one-off. He’s not the only guy out there doing good. Yes, he’s got a public forum because of that whole - I’m ready to get married so I’ll go on TV to do it
Wait never mind it didn’t work out on the ‘Bachelor’
thing, but he’s actually part of something way bigger than reality TV. Navy Medicine spokesman Capt. Cappy Surette had this to say about Andy's humanitarian work:
"Andy is one of the many people in the Navy who share the passion and desire to do good work all around the world. Navy Medicine is a $6.4B enterprise with over 63,000 Navy personnel dedicated to providing a global healthcare network for our troops while collaborating with partners around the world to develop cures for some of the world's most devastating diseases like Malaria and HIV AIDS."
“These proactive humanitarian assistance missions build trust and cooperation with partner nations, provide medical care to populations in need, and sow the seeds for long term stability and security in many places around the world."
The Morton Report will be following Andy’s mission to Africa - which starts on October 1st and his double down marathon endeavor (Nairobi Oct. 30 and NYC Nov. 6). For more info on Andy's journey or to donate to Worldvision or the clinic in Kenya, click here.