Service to the community, a rare commodity

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As I See It
By ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO

Many communities, government and non-government entities and profit and non-profit organizations, are having a hard time recruiting volunteers to carry out their goals. This was true in the past and still true today, especially with us Filipino-Americans who are characterized by our crab mentality even at a time of need and at a time of unity.

But, it is interesting to note that even with the hard times, there are some Filipino-American organizations I know from northern and southern California, that standout with overflowing volunteers and members, who are ready to serve and have been serving their respective organizations: the Pangasinan Brotherhood – USA, The Global Urdanetanians (TGU), The Original Urdanetanians (TOU); the Filipino American Chamber of Silicon Valley (FACSV); the Historic Filipinotown Neighborhood Council (HFNC); and the Divine Word College of Urdaneta Alumni Association (DWCUAA).

It was very fitting and appropriate for PB-USA President Lino F. Caringal, Jr., who, as guest speaker during the 6th Grand Reunion of the Divine Word College of Urdaneta Alumni Association (DWCUAA), spoke on the theme service (serviam in Latin) and recognized serviam as the source of strength of organizations.

Speaking before the alumni and guests, after he was introduced by Nancy Garcia, Caringal recognized DWCUAA President Belle Macaraeg and Rey and Gigi De Vera, and said, “I can admire the strength of your resolve, as you have methodically overcome the bad times to adopt in a new land, uprooted from one’s own comfort psychologically and emotionally. You have left dear friends and places that have been witness to your growth from playful children to eager teens in high school and eventually as young professionals in your respective fields… you have ingrained the values that your parents and teachers have lovingly taught you in your path to life… values that can be passed on to the next generation…they are the fibers of our strength that give us the determination when we face each challenge. This is what is unique to all of us. We have come from various paths and directions, but one thing for sure we have one spirit, forged by the teachings of our elders, members in high school and in college…”

Caringal also recognized the service the organizations have extended in helping each other in various programs and projects such as scholarships and helping our less fortunate kababayans. “… We have yet to summon that spirit that will give us the fresh wind under our wings so that our body and mind can soar to greater heights. Then, it shall be incredibly exciting journey all over again. In this new adventure, we seek to continue helping others, bridging peace. This is one of those moments that we can revive the heart of that spirit and its core value of service. Service to the country reminded us in 2013 when we crossed our path (referring to TGU and DWCUAA) when we served the needy and indigent kids of Urdaneta through the scholarship program and Help the Kids program of TGU,” Caringal said.

He ended his speech by saying, “We have come a long way from different paths and have managed to converge into one spirit. I do declare, yes, we will serve!”

Caringal’s vision of service to the community was likewise recognized by Milpitas FilAm Mayor Jose Esteves when he led the members of the city council in recognizing the city commissioners/community leaders two months ago during the 2016 Commissioners’ Recognition Event held at the Milpitas Community Center. “One year is not really enough to recognize your day-to-day contributions to the city which made Milpitas as a great city today,” Esteves said in his welcome address.

Esteves emphasized the benefits the volunteers derive in volunteering and sharing their time and talent, which made him understand their dedication and service to the community. “In sharing your time and talent, we solve together the problems of the city which led to strengthening our community and improving our lives. In volunteering, we improve our community, connect with others, and we really transform our lives as we transform the community. I salute you for these,” he said.

At this juncture, TGU President Yvonne San Juan-Sera also recognized the 21 sponsors who made possible 13 scholars, who belong to the poor but deserving students of Urdaneta City University, pursue their college degrees (3 freshmen, 4 sophomores, and 6 juniors), giving them a chance to improve their lives and become contributing members of society. Congratulations to all the officers and members of TGU, especially to its president Yvonne and the chairman of the Scholarship Board Fe Gonzales Sepulveda, who is currently on top of the scholarship program.
I would like also to congratulate the incoming president of TOU Danny Calacsan, who was just inducted into office lately. We have to recall that TGU was a brainchild of then TOU President Lino F. Caringal, Jr. The umbrella organization now is working very closely with TOU as a potent organization helping poor but deserving students and residents of Urdaneta.

There are two FilAm activities that will simultaneously be held this coming Saturday, August 6. One is that of the Filipino American Chamber of Commerce of Silicon Valley (FACCSV) and Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters (ROV) Joint Open House. Spokesperson Nell Capistrano Messersmith said the open house will be held at the ROV Compound in San Jose, CA from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. showcasing valuable information on the various chamber benefits, business resources, opportunities, and voter/election information for the coming November presidential general election. The open house is free and participating businesses will showcase their products and services and speak with potential customers and partners. ROV will also encourage and assist citizens to register and vote in the coming November election.

The Historic Filipinotown Neighborhood Council will hold its 14th Historic Filipino Town Festival also on Saturday, August 6 at the Silver Lake Medical Center Parking Lot in Los Angeles, CA, according to PB-USA President Lino F. Caringal, Jr. Contact person Cecille Ramos said the festival will feature a taste of Bicol in honor of its Patroness Our Lady of Penafrancia. A total of 45 organizations will be participating.

Service to the community? Yes! After all, it’s not that rare!

(For feedbacks, comments… please email the author @ estiokoelpidio@gmail.com).

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