By Jennie L. Ilustre
WASHINGTON D.C. A Congressional Gold Medal fundraiser for Filipino World War II veterans last July 20 attracted nearly a hundred guests to the Capital Bar and raised a net total of $5,478.31 – exceeding the expectations of its organizers.
The fundraiser was a joint effort by the Filipino Young professionals of Metro DC (FYP) and the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) Region II.
“Our young generation of leaders generously opened their wallets. Indeed, they were in such a giving spirit that they also spontaneously emptied their pockets, and that’s why the total amount includes loose change,” said FYP President Christal Simanski.
“We are grateful to attendees who supported this noble cause, which honors our World War II heroes,” said NaFFAA National Capital Region II Chair Eric Macalma. “We also acknowledge the other organizations for their strong support.”
He thanked KAYA Filipino Americans for Progress, the Asian Pacific American Institute of Congressional Studies (APAICS), the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL), OCA, FilAmCag, and the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project (FilVetREP). FilVetREP is the lead organization which lobbied Congress to pass The Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015 (now Public Law 114-265).
John Victoria, FYP Board Member and NaFFAA Capital Region Officer said, “I owe it to my great grandfather who gave his life during World War II, raising funds for the US Congressional Gold Medal is the least we could do.” During the fund-raising program, Victoria ask everyone to continue fund raising so all of the 260,000 Filipino Veterans of World War II should get the long awaited medal of dignity and honor.
“Our young leaders are stepping into the plate – and they are really making a difference,” said former NaFFAA Region II Chair Bing Cardenas Branigin, who has been actively engaged in spotting and encouraging the next generation of community leaders. “I was at this fundraiser and I could feel the energy, the enthusiasm and the social media savvy that they brought to the event.”
Jc Videna, NaFFAA Capital Region ll Deputy Chair said, “We raised a lot of funds tonight because of the generosity of our food sponsors providing us with Filipino delicacies from their restaurants and home catering services. Namely, the Matthew’s Grill and Restaurant, Luming’s, Northstar Catering and Grill, Purple Patch, Tito Al Alpapara, Cynthia Hernando’s empanada’s.
The organizers also thanked the generosity of Marlon Deausen Realty, Amante Macalma Services, Fil Am Cag of Virginia Beach, Tony Galang of Westin Hotel, Tyson’s Corner, Allen Magtibay, Mike Coronado Reyes, Rodney Salinas, Froilan Tiglao, Gage Javier, John Victoria, Bill Branigin, Herman Ayayo, Grace Lopez Dionisio from Canada, Ador and Nanette Carreon, Andrew Koval, and more.
They need more monetary contribution to make the official ceremony a success. You can go to FilVetRep.org for more information. Register all our Filipino Veterans of WW II so they will be properly recognition.
Only one Congressional Gold Medal will be presented by Speaker Paul Ryan at a formal ceremony in the U.S. Capitol, slated in October. Surviving veterans in the U.S. or their next of kin will each receive a bronze replica of the medal. Several on-going fundraising campaigns will finance the minting of the replicas. The Congressional Gold Medal is one of the nation’s two highest civilian awards. The other is the Presidential Medal of Freedom.