First Responders Honored | Police and Fire Receive Gifts from Asian Art & Culture Association

South Pasadena first responders – the local police and fire departments – were presented gift cards Monday by the US Asian Art & Culture Association Monday during a brief ceremony

PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | News | South Pasadena first responders – the local police and fire departments – were presented gift cards Monday by the US Asian Art & Culture Association Monday during a brief ceremony recognizing the city’s unsung heroes

They are the unsung heroes essential to a person’s survival sometimes not recognized enough, especially during the COVID-19 outbreak as it continues to take its toll on thousands around the world.

Among those appreciating the good deeds of South Pasadena police officers and firefighters are members of the U.S. Asian Art & Culture Association, which has gone the extra mile to salute their service during the coronavirus pandemic.

First responders are often thought of as those initially on the scene of a traffic accident or crime, but during the coronavirus pandemic they’re in the community performing lifesaving work, providing vital care within minutes of receiving a call.

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PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | News | South Pasadena Fire and Police Department personnel with Mayor Bob Joe

And further, emergency medical service personnel along with those in blue at the frontlines are often put at greater risk of contracting the virus through the nature of their work.

That’s why the U.S. Asian Art & Culture Association during a brief ceremony on Monday presented local officers and firefighters with 50 gift cards valued at $20 each as a way of saying thank you for what they do.

They’re hardworking individuals who have bravely decided to make sacrifices and put their life on the line for others.

PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | News | Members of the U.S. Asian Art & Culture Association with gift cards presented to police and fire departments

“We are heartbroken by the recent events,” reads a letter from the organization to the South Pasadena police and fire departments. “We understand that the police are facing pressure like never before. You have the support of our communities. Thank you for protecting our social order, and assuring our peace and stability. We believe justice will be served if you continue with doing what is right. We need you and will stand with you.”

Nearly 40 members from the U.S. Asian Art & Culture Association signed the letter, including South Pasadena residents Linda Liu, Qingmei Zhao and Ray Pietrzik, responsible for launching the growing non-profit.

“We would like to show our appreciation to our police department and fire department,” said Liu to the gathering at the local fire station. “It’s because of you that our community is safe. We really appreciate your service. It’s you, the heroes, who always help our community.”

PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | News | South Pasadena Fire Department personnel with Mayor Bob Joe and Councilmember Michael Cacciotti

Among those making comments was South Pasadena City Councilmember Michael Cacciotti, noting: “This demonstrates the diversity in our city, particularly among the Chinese-American community,” he said. “There are many times and examples of compassion and donations to our community, especially our public safety, police and fire. We support our police and fire. They do an outstanding job in one of the most difficult times in our nation’s history. So keep it up – the men and women of our department.”

On the receiving end of the gift cards were Captain Daniel Dunn on behalf of the South Pasadena Fire Department and Sgt. Tony Abdalla representing the city’s police department.

PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | News | SPFD Captain Daniel Dunn

“We want to thank you,” said Dunn. “We appreciate all of this. It’s nice to have the support of the community. It has been hard times because we can’t see everyone now. We’ve been kind of closed off and laying low running our calls, but we really do appreciate the support. If there’s anything you ever need please call us.”

Abdalla added, “Thank you very much. It’s really challenging times for law enforcement. I’ve been with the department in one capacity or another since I was 14 years old. I’m considerably older than that now. One thing I’ve learned over the years is the success of this community and the department is all about partnerships. So, to have you all as a partner means so much to us. For your showing of support, we really appreciate it.”

PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | News | SPPD Sgt. Tony Abdalla

South Pasadena Mayor Robert Joe opened the ceremony saying, “It’s great to have a partnership with the U.S. Asian Art and Culture Association and having nonprofits (like them) so involved in our community. And being a great partner to our community means the three C’s – charity, compassion and commitment.”

He quickly noted, “I’m going to add a fourth C – community.”

Joe also praised the efforts of US Asian Art & Culture Association member Melissa Cheng for helping to organize Monday’s gift card giveaway to the public safety officials.

PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | News | Mayor Bob Joe

“She’s done so much for our community, it’s incredible,” he said.

There’s no question in the mayor’s mind, COVID-19 has added a layer of concern and complexity for firefighters and police officers looking out for others and themselves during the worldwide crisis.

“Thank you for being here supporting our first responders,” he said in closing, fully acknowledging their strength, courage and dedication.