Update: Cong Eni back to work in Washington D.C.
Congressman Faleomavaega Eni returned to work yesterday in Washington D.C with limited working hours following his rehabilitation and recuperation on the mainland, but still no details of his illness.
Faleomavaega was medivaced last October to Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu for further evaluation after being hospitalized at LBJ Medical Center for three days, for an illness that has yet to be publicly released by his office, or by the Congressman himself.
In mid November, his office reported the Congressman was expected to make a complete recovery. At the time, he was being moved from Tripler to an undisclosed location in Utah or Washington D.C. as he was to undergo "further rehab”.
In a statement yesterday morning, Faleomavaega announced he is back to work in Washington D.C.
“I want to personally thank the people of American Samoa for the prayers they offered during my rehabilitation and recuperation,” he said, but didn’t reveal any details of his illness. “I felt the prayers of the people strengthening me, and I am grateful to God that he has brought me back.
“With full faith in the Lord’s guidance, I am grateful that by His mercy I am able to resume limited office hours while continuing to rehab,” he said. “I am also thankful that my privacy has been respected, even though I am a public servant.”
Faleomavaega recalled that he was airlifted from American Samoa to Honolulu “in a situation that went from non life-threatening to critical”, adding that “for a brief period of time, it was unclear whether or not I would make it.”
“Only God knows why I am still here. Whatever His reasons, I am deeply humbled to be able to continue to serve the people of American Samoa,” the Congressman said.
While away from work, Faleomavaega said he kept in close contact with his office and directed his Washington staff to work closely with his Chief of Staff, Faiivae Alex Godinet (who is based in the American Samoa office).
“I want to publicly thank him for watching over me while I was at LBJ and for standing with me for more than 30 years. I am deeply appreciative of his service,” Faleomavaega said of Faiivae.
He also thanked his management team in D.C. saying that the “directives they received from me were at times challenging but they held firm and implemented necessary changes according to my instructions to ensure that constituent services and legislative initiatives were moving forward as usual.”
The Congressman said he especially thanked Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga “for his love”.
“Forevermore, I will be thankful for the life-saving measures he undertook on my behalf by providing a police escort for the ambulance that was carrying me. I was moved to learn that he also followed behind the ambulance and did not leave the airport until wheels were up and I was airlifted out of American Samoa,” he said.
“Governor Lolo and I were supposed to have lunch last week [in D.C.] where I intended to express my appreciation, in person, for all he did for me. Unfortunately, we were unable to meet but I have every confidence we will meet again soon,” Faleomavaega said. “Until we do, I send Governor Lolo and the First Lady my love and join with the people of American Samoa in praying for him.”
(Lolo arrived in Washington D.C. on Feb. 20 for several meetings but was admitted the next day to George Washington University Hospital for an unknown illness. He was discharged last Friday afternoon and is scheduled to return to the territory on Friday this week.)
Faleomavaega went on to thank his colleagues in the U.S. House “for their unwavering support”.
Democratic Leader, U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, “who I have known for more than 30 years, has especially been there for me, as have my other colleagues, in ways which allowed me to carry out my Congressional duties without interruption,” he said. “I am most appreciative of the immediate assistance they provided my office, and for their long-standing friendship.”
Faleomaveaga says that he would be remiss if he did not mention the medical teams and flight crews as well as VA administrators and personnel, the Hawaii Air National Guard, General Darryl Wong, General Robert Lee, Colonel Ronald Han, the physicians at the U.S. House of Representatives, and the countless others “who were all-in for my recovery.”
“On behalf of my family – including my wife, Hina, who has been my side throughout this ordeal – our children, my siblings, our relatives and friends, I once more thank the people of American Samoa and elsewhere whose prayers have made it possible for me to return to work,” the Congressman said. “Words cannot express how grateful I am to be back in Washington in the service of our people.”
Samoa News wishes both the Congressman and the Governor best wishes and God’s blessings for a full recovery.
In a Samoa News unscientific online poll, readers were asked if they were satisfied with the level of information about the Congressman's illness and prognosis for recovery. 54% who answered the poll said yes, “the Congressman and his family have every right to their privacy and it is not anyone else’s business."
However, 46% disagreed saying, "The public has a right to information about his condition as he is our elected representative in Washington D.C."
Samoa News also notes “we are among the latter” — in that we believe that the public has a right to information about his condition as he is our elected representative in Washington D.C. We further hold this to be true with Gov. Lolo M. Moliga’s hospitalization as well.