Originally posted on Manila Mail - 6/15/17 by Jennie L. Ilustre
WASHINGTON D.C. Honoring outstanding individuals is a fine tradition with the Philippine American Foundation for Charities, Inc. (PAFC), calling awardees “Dakila,” Pilipino word for great. On its annual big event held on June 3, PAFC recognized inspiring people, all of whom personify the saying, “Virtue is its own reward.”
Ador S. Carreon, who received the Dakila Lifetime Achievement Award with his wife Nanette onstage, later told a friend. “I’m truly grateful for this, but I was just doing my job.”
Awards Chair Mitzi Pickard, with Co-Chair Maurese O. Owens, noted, “Carreon is highly regarded for his effective leadership of PAFC as president and chairman of the board. Under his leadership, PAFC raised and donated over $50,000 to charities in the U.S. and the Philippines, as well as Indonesia and Japan after earthquake and tsunamis devastated those countries.”
PAFC President Aylene Mafnas and PAFC Chair Sonny Busa presented the awards to Carreon and other honorees. (Previous recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award were Maurese O. Owens and Jon Melegrito.)
Carreon started as a PAFC volunteer in 2006. He served as president from 2008-2010, and chairman of the board from 2010-2014. Currently, Carreon is the president of the Doer and Naturally Caring Foundation, a 501-c-3 organization he established with his wife Nanette to offer scholarships, build classrooms and provide school supplies to less-fortunate children in the Philippines.
He is a chartered member of the Maynilad Lodge 1521, Grand Lodge D.C. and served as Worshipful Master in 2016. He served as commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Metropolitan Washington, and also VFW Post 5471. He worked with the U.S. Navy in several capacities for over 20 years. He retired from the U.S. Department of Treasury as operations support specialist in 2011.
The evening’s star was World War II veteran Celestino Almeda, honored for his heroism by retired Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba. Rolling out a cake, PAFC honored him for his service and for achieving a milestone–turning 100 this month. Sharp and witty as ever, what was his usual refrain? “It’s an honor just to serve,” he said, which is the common reaction of all veterans.
“A Gold Medal Celebration and Filipino American Friendship” was the twin theme of the successful event, which drew about 200 guests at the Marriott Tysons Hotel in Virginia. Retired General Taguba urged community support to fund replicas of the Congressional Gold Medal for Filipino and Filipino WWII veterans. Last year, the U.S. Congress passed the legislation granting the nation’s highest medal to outstanding civilians last December.
PAFC honored other area veterans, who came with their family members. Among them were Potenciano Dee and Ray Cabacar. Margrit Baltazar, widow of U.S. Air Force Maj. Jesse Baltazar, came with sons Tom and Phillip.
In his remarks, Philippine embassy Minister for Economic Affairs Jose Victor Chan-Gonzaga underscored “the enduring friendship” between the Philippines and the U.S., adding it is a friendship “that is forward-looking.”
PAFC President Mafnas gave the welcome remarks. PAFC Chair Busa introduced the keynote speaker, Philippine Honorary Consul and US-Philippines Society Founding Director Henry B. Howard.
Tanghalang Pilipino and friends serenaded guests at the hall. The Silent Auction, chaired by Ceres Busa, lured bidders throughout the evening. The program, emceed by Jon Melegrito and Christal Simanksi, began with the Presentation of Colors, led by VFW Post 5471 (Jay Cabacar, U.S. Army (Ret); Ador Carreon, Rudy Ines, Andy Miranda and Rey Regis–all U.S. Navy (Ret). Virna Flores sang Lupang Hinirang and Cristina Sison sang the Star Spangled Banner, followed by Invocation by Bobby and Gloria Federigan. Entertainment numbers were rendered by Jolly Friends and Hannah Villanueva Bush. Music by Pearse Abbey enticed almost everyone to the dance floor till midnight.