This year I had the honor of emceeing the GoldenDragon awards. It's organized by the Asian American Chamber of Commerce inOrlando.The event recognizes individuals, companies and organizations thatpromote giving and diversity.
My co-emcees AACC president Gail Rayos andpast president Glenn Leong also presented awards. Yes, it's alwaysexciting to take part in events with other Asian Americans. But this year waseven better. The gala took place at the Contemporary Resort Hotel at Disney. Asa child, I remember vacationing there with my family. So it was neat to beemceeing an event there. As I took the stage I thought of my family and thewonderful memories we shared there.
I also admit to having butterflies in my belly as I started speaking,knowing journalist Wendy Chioji was the keynote speaker. She worked as ananchor at WESH TV for many years. She has been the only Asian American anchor inthe Central Florida market. Wendy moved to Utah shortly after I started workingin Central Florida. But as I reported in the field, many of her viewers thoughtshe was still around. I can say that, because they often thought I was her. Tothis day I take it as a compliment and thank them. I make sure to introducemyself as Valerie. I'm Chinese American and she's Japanese American.
Wendy made an inspiring speech about life and embracing the changes that wedeal with along the way. As a breast cancer survivor, she's passionate aboutcancer treatment and support. She now works for Growing Bolder televisionnetwork and continues to work as a producer, reporter and anchor. She's also afitness professional. Her energy is just amazing! She was given the InspirationLegacy award at the gala.
This year Walt Disney World Parks and Resorts was the main sponsor of theevent. Minority Business Development Manager Belinda Frazier talked about howDisney makes a difference when it comes to diversity.
A tribute to the late Gary Sain, CEO of Visit Orlando, was touching. Hiswife Pamela received the Legacy Award in his honor.She plans to carry on hislegacy with mentoring programs.
This year's Golden Dragon award went to Orlando Health, for their service tothe community for the last 50 years. It's the highest award from the AACC.
The Golden Hands Award went to David Fuller, President and CEO of Sun TrustBank in Central Florida.
The Green Spirit Award went to University of Central Florida.
The Diversity Champion award went to Universal Orlando Resort.
The Ellison Onizuka Humanitarian Award went to Reach of Central Florida.
Of course the entertainment at the gala was tremendous! The Orlando Balletand singer Nadine Risha both mesmerized us with their performances. It wastruly a wonderful evening, celebrating the accomplishments of others. Itmotivates me to do more to help the community and I hope it motivates you too.