New York City — The annual Poinsettia Christmas Ball was made extra special this year when organizers Friends Indeed and Philippine Hearts and Hopes Society Inc. along with other Filipino community organizations presented a Special Citation to Consul General Mario De Leon as “Man of the Year” on Sunday, December 6, 2015 at the Astoria World Manor in Queens.
Cora Reyes of Friends Indeed announced the award and read the accomplishments of the Consul General since his assumption in New York. She mentioned his brainchild projects “Build A Shelter” which funded 102 houses for Yolanda victims in Samar and Leyte; “Leadership and Mentoring Seminar” to empower the Second-Generation members of the community; “Warden System” to facilitate assistance to nationals in distress; “Homecoming sa Konsulado” which fosters fellowship among school alumni associations, among other major initiatives which promote the interests of the community in the US Northeast. After Mrs Reyes’ tribute, other organizations such as the Philippine American Association of Connecticut, the Philippine American Friendship Committee, Knights of Rizal, Filipino American Legal Defense Fund and the Association of Filipino Teachers in America, among others, chimed in to give their citations to the Consul General.
In his acceptance speech, Consul General De Leon thanked the organizations behind the award led by Friends Indeed and the Philippines Hearts and Hope Society –for recognizing his work. He stressed his commitment to help elevate the profile of Filipinos in the US Northeast and the entire United States, which guides his work as the Consul General. He cited the community’s strength being the second largest ethnic minority in the whole US, and third largest in the Tristate. He reiterated his vision to the community, that the Fil-Am organizations be sustained by leadership of the emerging generation, all the while encouraging more Filipinos to take on leadership roles in the mainstream American society. The Consul General shared his award with the Filipinos of the US Northeast for their participation in the Consulate’s programs which enabled him to accomplish his missions successfully, and his wife Eleanor who has been with him in most of the community activities.
The red-motif event attracted about 500 attendees this year to raise funds for medical, surgical and humanitarian missions of Friends Indeed in 2016. (Press Release from the Philippine Consulate/Photos by Yetbo LoveRita)