Articles from the August 1997 Unification News

500 Celebrate Parents' Day in South Gate, CA

by Mark Eastman-New California Times

The August heat didn't deter the more than 500 men, women, and children who turned out for the National Parents' Day program in South Gate.

Sponsored by the City of South Gate, Commission for South Gate Youth, and National Parents' Day Coalition, the event honored the 1997 Parents of the Year and nominees from all public schools in South Gate.

"I'm proud of these individuals because they have been so unselfish and deserve to be recognized as outstanding citizens of the community," said Susan Janer, a coordinator for the activity.

Janer visited each of the ten elementary schools, South Gate Middle School, and South Gate and Odyessy high schools, soliciting entries for Parent's of the Year.

The winning couples were awarded beautiful, custom framed color portraits of their families, which will hang for at least a month in City Hall. Portrait recipients seemed "overwhelmingly grateful to receive such a nice surprise," said Janer.

All of the nominees received proclamations from the City of South Gate, presented by South Gate Vice Mayor Mary Ann Buckles who represented Mayor Bill Martinez, who couldn't be there. The husband and wife of each chosen couple crossed a "Bridge of Friendship," where many embraced each other and became a truly re-dedicate couple. Later all couples in the audience were invited to cross the bridge.

Master of ceremonies for the evening was South Gate Youth Commissioner Bill Baum, accompanied by his wife, Jean. Baum was assisted by Project JADE Director Marcos Vega. Also facilitating was Godwin D'Silva, general manager of the New California Times.

Rick Joswick of the Family Federation for World Peace offered the invocation, followed by the Flag Salute, presented by San Antonio District Boy Scout Troop #468 of South Gate. John Holmes provided entertainment on the keyboard.

South Gate City Manager Andrew Pasmant gave a moving keynote address, focused on the merits of a strong family.

Early on during the program proclamations were presented to Commission on South Gate Youth Chairman Dianna Winnor by representatives of Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard and Assemblywoman Martha Escutia, and for the City of South Gate by Vice Mayor Buckles.

In addition to honoring Parent's Day families, close to 50 married couples chose to rededicate their marriages in a ceremony sponsored by the Women's Federation for World Peace, Era Thompson presiding. Among those participating were Bill and Jean Baum, who have been married for over 51 years.

National Parents' Day is America's newest day of commemoration, signed into law by President Bill Clinton on Oct. 14, 1994, following unanimous adoption by the United States House of Representatives and Senate, and endorsed by 39 state governors.

"The purpose of this day is to reinforce the importance of the role of parents in raising healthy children," according to Dr. Robert G. Grant, chairman of the National Parents' Day Coalition. "Kids are in trouble because families are in trouble," he added.

The 1997 Parents of the Year and their affiliations included:

Juan and Eustolia Garcia, Montara School; Ramon and Yolanda Ramos, Odyssey School; Fernando and Hilda Morales, Stanford School; Pablo and Margarita S. Gamez, State Street School; Mike and Patty Nagel, South Gate Optimist Club; Jose Luis and Noemi Lopez, Tweedy Elementary School; and Gabriel and Ivonne Loucel, Victoria Avenue School.

Others included: Jesus and Sonia Miranda, San Gabriel Elementary School; Lionel and Karla Sirias, Liberty Boulevard Elementary School; Robert and Melody Hernadez, Bryson Avenue School; Jose and Mary Segura, South Gate Community; Jose and Socorro Enrique, Family Federation for World Peace; and Daniel and Maria Isabel Parra, South Gate Middle School, San Miguel Avenue Elementary School.

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