Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this

2011 Cultural Diversity Partnership Culminates with Annual Local Heroes Awards Celebration


February 8, 2012 (San Diego) -- – As part of its ongoing commitment to cultural diversity and responsible banking, Union Bank, N.A., has  partnered with KPBS to honor 17 local individuals who are making a difference to enrich the lives of others.  The honorees were announced as part of the 2011 Cultural Diversity Partnership, which recognizes and pays tribute to local heroes from eight diverse communities who are making a difference by improving their workplace, profession, neighborhood, community, region and the world.  The year-long celebration of diversity culminates with an awards ceremony on February 8, 2012, where recipients will be formally recognized. The awards event will broadcast on KPBS-TV on April 5, 2012, at 10:30 p.m. 

Bill Bodry, founder and president of the Challenge Center, was recognized at the Union Bank and KPBS 2011 Local Heroes Awards at the Balboa Theatre on February 8, 2012. Mr. Bodry poses with Tiffany Picquilloud who nominated him for the award. Mr. Bodry and 16 other honorees were nominated for making a difference in the lives of others.
Photo by Melissa Jacobs

The 2011 Local Heroes honorees are: Veverly E. Anderson, Theophilus A. (Theo) Logan and Martha R. Logan (Black History Month); Kathi Anderson and Barbara Bry (Women’s History Month); Thomas E. Hom and Robin J. Tarr (Asian Pacific American Heritage Month); Edith Eva Eger, Ph.D. and  Jackie Gmach (Jewish American Heritage Month); Delores A. Jacobs, Ph.D. and Nicole Murray Ramirez (LGBT Pride Month); Richard Nares and Rachael Ortiz (Hispanic Heritage Month); Bill Bodry and Pamela Finkel (Disability Awareness Month); and Michelle Marie Parada and Brandie Taylor (Native American Heritage Month.)

“We are thrilled to partner with KPBS to celebrate these amazing community leaders,” said Union Bank Senior Executive Vice President Pierre Habis, head of Community Banking at Union Bank. “The Local Heroes program helps to highlight their extraordinary accomplishments and the diversity of San Diego, and we are excited and honored to be a part of this community celebration.”
“KPBS has the pleasure of partnering with Union Bank to celebrate these outstanding local heroes,” said KPBS General Manager Tom Karlo. “KPBS is proud to feature these honorees in our programming. Their stories truly inspire others in our community  and make a positive difference in our neighborhoods and the world.”
The 2011 Local Heroes honorees are:
Black History Month
Veverly E. Anderson is devoted to bettering the lives and circumstances of underprivileged youth in the impoverished neighborhoods of southeast San Diego. Ms. Anderson is currently the community coordinator and youth program coordinator for the San Diego Community Housing Corporation and the Town & Country Village Learning Center, respectively. She has also made it her life’s mission to create opportunities that address the social and economic needs of children, their families, and their communities. After 14 years with the military, Ms. Anderson also worked as an outreach specialist for the Black Infant Health Program/San Diego State University Foundation and as a parent educator for the SAY San Diego Early Literacy Project.
Theophilus A. (Theo) Logan has devoted his life to helping others. After serving in the United States Army for 20 years, Mr. Logan turned to his passion for real estate, helping buyers achieve what may sometimes seem an impossible dream of owning a home. Mr. Logan established Logan Real Estate in 1962, and in 1978, became the first African American president of the San Diego Board of Realtors. When he retired, his office became a landmark in the southeast community, where residents could seek advice and guidance regarding buying, selling, and investing in real estate. 

Martha R. Logan was taught to focus on the needs of others by her mother and grandmother after the death of her father when she was a baby. Ms. Logan recognized a great need for legal counseling in her San Diego community, earned her Juris Doctor degree, and in 1976, began practicing law with an emphasis on protecting senior citizens and their assets, through estate planning and personal counseling. Ms. Logan is also a 60-year member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and has been an integral part of its local service programs for more than 30 years.

Women’s History Month
Kathi Anderson
Combining her bachelor's and master's degrees in international relations and counseling, Kathi Anderson serves as the executive director and co-founder of Survivors of Torture, International (SURVIVORS). SURVIVORS is a non-profit agency that assists survivors of politically motivated torture, educates the public about the effects of torture, and works toward the abolition of torture. Ms. Anderson also contributes to the San Diego community as a board member of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, the San Diego Young Adult Symphony, and the National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs. She has also served on the national board of directors of Amnesty International USA.
Barbara Bry is an entrepreneur who uses her passion and business savvy to level the playing field for women and girls, especially in conventionally male fields. Her truly inspiring contributions have emanated from her involvement with non-profit organizations and the San Diego community. Ms. Bry is responsible for the foundation of San Diego Athena, the leading organization for local women in the technology and life sciences fields. She also supports her community by contributing to organizations such as Voice of San Diego, CONNECT, Run Women Run, Planned Parenthood, San Diego's Jewish Women's and Community foundations, Rotary Club 33, and Women Give San Diego.
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
Thomas E. Hom is a community leader and philanthropist. He was the first Asian American elected to the San Diego City Council in 1962 as deputy mayor and later served in the California State Assembly. Mr. Hom is also a successful entrepreneur, having been president of Tom Hom & Associates Realtors and Tom Hom Investment Corporation, and chairman of The Tom Hom Group. He is also the founder of the Hom Family Foundation, which helped launch the Chinese Historical Museum. Mr. Hom serves on many community boards, including the board of San Diego Television, Inc., where he's director and chairman, and BSD Bancorp as director and vice chairman. Mr. Hom has also received numerous recognitions and awards, including the Center City Development Corporation Director's Award, the Gaslamp Quarter Foundation Award, and the Downtown Partners Association’s "Man of the Year."
Robin J. Tarr is founder of the Jonathan Tarr Foundation, an education-based nonprofit that provides scholarships to a diverse population of underserved boys and girls. The Jonathan Tarr Foundation was established in memory of her son Jonathan, who died in a tragic car accident at 17. Ms. Tarr has drawn strength from her children and her Chinese-Hawaiian heritage to help handle adversity and changes in her personal life. She has received numerous awards, including the Hometown Hero Award, Making a Difference for Women Award, and His Excellency Award from Fidel V. Ramos, former President of the Philippines.
Jewish American Heritage Month
In 1944, at the age of 16, Edith Eva Eger, Ph.D., was sent to Auschwitz along with her family. Through determination, Dr. Eger survived the imprisonment but lost her family. After World War II, she moved to Czechoslovakia and eventually to the United States to pursue a medical career. Dr. Eger has always found ways to use her personal experiences to inspire, educate, and help others. She is a prolific author, lecturer, and member of several associations and has appeared on numerous television programs and documentaries. Dr. Eger has a clinical practice in La Jolla, California, where she uses her past as a powerful analogy to inspire people to reach their potential and shape their destinies.
Jackie Gmach is the community outreach coordinator for San Diego State University's Initiative for Moral Courage (IMC). The new interdisciplinary think tank focuses on the critical study, promotion, and recognition of moral courage through a mentoring project that brings together academics, world leaders, and students. During Ms. Gmach's 20-year tenure at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center and the San Diego Center for Jewish Culture, she developed the San Diego Jewish Book Fair, the Music Festival, and two national exhibits: "Inside Anne Frank's House" and "DAVKA, The Survival of a People." She is involved in numerous community organizations, including American Friends of Magen David Adom and the Agency for Jewish Education, where she served as the 2011 volunteer chair of Yom Limmud, a day of Jewish learning that attracted nearly 1,000 people.
LGBT Pride Month
Delores A. Jacobs, Ph.D. is the chief executive officer of the San Diego LGBT Community Center, one of the oldest, largest LGBT community centers in the country. Dr. Jacobs is a trained psychologist who has devoted considerable time and talent to training and education efforts in the public health and non-profit sectors. Dr. Jacobs participates in the San Diego LGBT Leadership Council, the Advisory Board for the University of San Diego’s Non-Profit Leadership and Management Program, and the county of San Diego’s HIV Planning Council. She has been honored for her dedication, commitment and leadership by several organizations, including the San Diego YMCA and AIDS Walk San Diego. She has also received LEAD San Diego‘s Visionary Award for Diversity and commendations from U.S. Congresswoman Susan Davis and San Diego City Councilmember Toni Atkins.
Nicole Murray Ramirez
San Diego City Commissioner Nicole Murray Ramirez has been a Latino and gay activist for more than 40 years. He is a national board member of the Harvey Milk Foundation and chairman of the International Court Council, one of the oldest and largest predominantly gay organizations in the world with chapters in the USA, Canada and Mexico. Mr. Ramirez is also serving a four-year term on the board of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. He has served as a board member of the Human Rights Campaign, national chair of the National Latino/a Lesbian and Gay Organization (LLEGO), national chair of Stonewall 25 and state chair of Equality California. Mr. Ramirez is the only gay activist in the country who has been elected to all four national boards of the LGBT marches on Washington, D.C.
Hispanic Heritage Month
Richard Nares is the executive director of the Emilio Nares Foundation (ENF), which he founded along with his wife Diane in 2003 after losing their son Emilio to leukemia. Mr. Nares turned the tragic experience into a program that assists children fighting cancer throughout Southern California. Under his direction, the Emilio Nares Foundation serves as a resource center providing various community services including transportation, healthy meals, financial assistance and staffing for two Family Resource Centers at Rady Children’s Hospital. The foundation has received numerous awards, including the 2009 Charitable Partner of the Year by the Ronald McDonald Charities of San Diego, and the E. Lee Walker Imagination Award sponsored by the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
Rachael Ortiz is the founder and director of Barrio Station, a youth program that saves the lives of thousands of troubled young people by offering them alternatives to delinquency. Ms. Ortiz lives her life with a passion for justice and a commitment to youth advocacy. After working with the United Farm Workers, she became a counselor for an in-school youth program and in 1970 she founded Barrio Station, which has been widely recognized by the community and by local government as a powerful advocate and safe haven for youth. Ms. Ortiz is a recipient of numerous awards, including the César Chávez Humanitarian Award, California Legislature's Women of the Year and the Aztec Achievement Award.
Disability Awareness Month
Bill Bodry is the founder and president of the Challenge Center, which he established after a spinal cord injury, left him paraplegic at the age of 27. Faced with the challenge of finding affordable medical and physical therapy services, Mr. Bodry has made it his life's work and mission to provide programs and services to people living with severe disabilities. Since 1987, the Challenge Center has provided clinical rehabilitation and health education by physical therapists to those living with a disease that has significantly impacted their level of function. The Challenge Center has been recognized as one of the fifteen "Best of the Best" nonprofit rehabilitation facilities in the nation by the Christopher Reeve Foundation.  In 2010, Mr. Bodry received San Diego’s Channel 10 News Leadership Award.
Pamela Finkel is a professor emeritus, counselor and advocate for the academic success of students with disabilities and has dedicated her life to making sure they have the necessary resources to ensure their educational success. For nearly 20 years, she has been a professor at San Diego Community College (SDCC).  Her work with SDCC includes the Disability Support Programs & Services (DSPS), a campus resource center that provides academic support, counseling services and reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities, helping them to be independent and achieve their academic and vocational goals. Ms. Finkel’s perseverance and dedication is a great example for the students as she has achieved many goals despite her own physical challenges. She has been a recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Faculty Appreciation Award and Faculty Adviser for the Disabled Student Union.
Native American Heritage Month
Michelle Marie Parada is the co-founder and lead teacher of All Tribes American Indian Charter School. Ms. Parada grew up on the Rincon Reservation and was one of only three students to graduate from Orange Glen High School’s class of 1984. She was also the first Native American student to graduate from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with an agricultural education degree. It was her education that helped shape her life’s mission of making sure students receive the necessary resources to ensure their success. Since 2001, All Tribes Charter School has provided culturally focused assistance to reduce the dropout rates among Native American students in San Diego by graduating 46 high school seniors to date. Ms. Parada has been a recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the 2010 Educator of the Year from the National Indian Education Association and San Diego’s 10News Leadership Award.
Brandie Taylor is the vice chairwoman of the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, an Indian tribe in Northern San Diego County.  Ms. Taylor has dedicated her life to advocating for tribal rights, preservation of tribal culture, improvement of health and safety of native peoples, and she is an avid supporter of higher education for youth.  Ms. Taylor’s many accomplishments include securing funding for Iipay Nation’s Tribal Social Services, which handles child dependency cases and culturally focused assistance for family preservation.  She is also a member of many tribal, local, state and national groups that promote tribal self-determination, education, and health issues, among them the Kumeyaay Diegueno Land Conservancy, Inter-tribal Court of Southern California, and the Cal State San Marcos Native Advisory Council.  Ms. Taylor has been recognized with the 2010 Community Leader of the Year Award and the 2004 Tribal Leader Award for Indian Child Welfare.
Throughout the respective commemorative heritage months, KPBS aired video profiles of the honoree highlighting how they have made a difference in their community. The on-air profiles can be viewed on the Web at www.kpbs.org/heroes. For more information about Local Heroes please also visit unionbank.com/heroes.


Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.