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A Special Recognition to One of Our Own
by Emily Velez-Confer

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Puerto Rican FlagJessica & AngieOn December 4th, 2009 the La Jolla Rotary International Club bestowed a very special honor to one of our own.

Dr. Antonio Grillo informed me a few weeks prior that the La Jolla Rotary International Club was going to present Angie Freeman with the 2009 Paul Harris Fellowship Award during this meeting.  This was wonderful and exciting news since Angie has been an integral part of our organization for at least two years and at the end of 2008 she stepped up to change the dynamics of our youth program.

Angie Freeman with Jessica Malone
Photo by Emily Velez-Confer

The Paul Harris Fellowship award is presented to candidates for doing good in the world – the certificate read: “in appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world.”

Angie – whose birth name is Angela (Angel), was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to Puerto Rico with her family just a few months old and moved away again at the age of 4 ½. She and her family moved to update New York and eventually to San Diego where she graduated from our Lady of Peace High School.

She met Gus Freeman, her husband thanks to her brother, while both were in the US Marine Corps. She and Gus got married and lived in Yuma, AZ where she attended Southwestern University and obtained a degree in Fashion Merchandising. She and Gus have two daughters: Arlene, a USC graduate with a degree in Communications; and Alyssa, a Chapman University graduate with a degree in Liberal Arts Studies and Education. Gus, while in the Marines was a gunnery sergeant and is a veteran of the 1st Gulf War, now retired after 20 years of service. He currently works in the construction business and is employed by the San Diego County Office of Education.  Angie is currently an Elementary School Assistant to the Principal – secretary and office manager at the Sunset View School in Point Loma, CA.

Angie’s tireless community and volunteer service includes:
1. The San Diego Blood Bank – she is an advocate and speaker on behalf of this organization. She speaks to corporations, at blood drives and any where that she can get the word out regarding the importance to donating blood in this community. She can be seen on various SD Blood Bank bus’ graphics and local TV Commercials.

2. The House of Puerto Rico San Diego – She is the founder and coordinator of the Reinitas Borincanas girls program for the organization, which provides the youth with folkloric dance training, which also focuses on Puerto Rican culture and traditions. She started with 8 girls and young ladies, ranging from the age of 6 to 23 and now has 33 including boys and young men as part of the Jovenes Boricuas program.  Her service has change the dynamics of the HPRSD youth program and the young parents involvement in our organization.

The activities the youth have offered include dancing for seniors, dancing at Petco Park in center field, at Family Day in Balboa Park, at the HPRSD Lawn Program, at St. Vincent de Paul Village for their Easter Fashion Show.  They have cleaned the local San Diego Beaches, help serve the Homeless, sent Valentines to our troops and seniors and have performed at various San Diego County Blood Drives.

3. The Fishes and Loaves Program – Angie and Gus have started the “Fish and Loaves Program where they prepare soup and other dishes and go into the inner city and serve the homeless.

4. The Church of the Nazarene – Angie and Gus are very active with their church.

She battles Diabetes, Lupus, Aplastic Anemia and LGL Leukemia for over 16 years and despite the treatments and her low blood counts that require regular transfusions, she is a bundle of energy and has an amazing drive that sets the bar high for all of us to try and reach. She currently is waiting to have a bone transplant which is possible thanks to the match she has found in her brother.

She is an inspiration to me personally – her motto is “I can do everything through HIM who gives me strength.”

Thank you so much  - you are our own ANGEL – Angie!

Emily Velez-Confer
President of the House of Puerto Rico San Diego 2010

 



 
     
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