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Community invited to honor Filipino leaders for excellence

By Staff | May 19, 2016

The Maui Filipino Chamber of Commerce will honor these six community leaders at an event on June 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the Maui Beach Hotel.

KAHULUI – The prestigious Gintong Pamana (Golden Heritage) Leadership Award will be presented to six outstanding individuals on Thursday, June 16, at 5:30 p.m. at the Maui Beach Hotel, Maui Filipino Chamber of Commerce President Kit Zulueta announced last week.

“The awardees have demonstrated dedication in their respective fields – from health care, culture and arts, hospitality and community service,” Zulueta said.

“We hope you can help us honor them at our awards night, as it promises to be a special night for all.”

The awardees are:

Zacarias G. Asuncion – After a long career as a surgeon on the U.S. Mainland, Asuncion retired to Pukalani in 2006. Although licensed to practice in the state, he has chosen not to engage in private practice but rather to devote the rest of his professional life to volunteer medical work. As a member of the UP Medical Alumni Society of America and Doctors Without Borders, he has joined numerous medical missions to different Philippine provinces, including helping victims of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in Leyte.

Uluwehi Guerrero – Born of Filipino parents in Happy Valley, Wailuku, Guerrero has had an illustrious 36-year career as a kumu hula and award-winning Hawaiian music recording artist. He has performed at the world’s most prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall in New York and Tokyo Dome. He continues to teach hula, chants and language in the perpetuation of culture and traditional music across the State of Hawaii.

Vincent L. Gusman – Gusman is a leader of the Maui Masonic Lodge, recruiting and mentoring Filipinos into the organization on the principles and values of hard work. His humanitarian work as a Freemason includes coordinating the Shriners Hospital Outreach Clinic that provided over 200 Maui children with orthopedic burn, spinal cord injury and cleft lip/palate treatments last year.

Rick Nava – Nava is a public servant and an accomplished businessman. In addition to running his own socially responsible media company, he serves in an active capacity in numerous community organizations, including the Rotary Club of Lahaina, West Maui Taxpayers Association, Maui Filipino Community Council and the Maui Chamber of Commerce. Recently, he was instrumental in establishing the Bahay Kubo Heritage Foundation, whose goal is to restore the Philippine cultural pride display “bahay kubo” at the Kepaniwai Heritage Gardens in Iao Valley.

Ronaldo Santos – As the food and beverage manager at the Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club, Santos has been a dedicated associate for more than 20 years. He is admired for making sound business decisions and leading by example. Going above and beyond his work duties, he also directs and coordinates his team’s successful participation in community events, including the Visitor Industry Charity Walk, Children’s Miracle Network and American Red Cross. He is a vital and valued member of the Marriott’s management team.

Melanie Vallejos – For more than 20 years, Vallejos has been an accomplished dentist on Maui. She has been recognized as “Best Dentist” by Honolulu Magazine for five straight years (2012-16). Inspired by the Filipino values of her late father, Miguel Vallejos, in addition to her professional career, she has become a leader in numerous community development projects, including the tri-agency Aloha House/Maui Youth and Family Services and Malama Family Recovery Center, which help Maui families overcome the impact of drugs, alcohol and untreated mental illness.

The chamber’s Gintong Pamana Committee, with help from a panel of judges, will also give a special award to one of the recipients, which will be announced that evening.

Attend the Gintong Pamana Leadership and Scholarship Awards banquet by purchasing a ticket at $50 online at www.mauifilipinochamber.com/gintongpamana or by calling Event Chair Jeana Gamboa at 419-1617.

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