Hawaii Fil-Ams laud veteran TV journalist for community service
HONOLULU—“Emme’s special touch in bringing out the best in people is a gift,” gushed Rose Churma, president and COO of the Filipino Community Center in Waipahu, during the sold-out “Sharing Memorable Moments with Emme Tomimbang & Friends” on Nov. 9.
Some 600 people attended the 11th annual Gala Dinner and Silent Auction benefit for the Filipino Community Center (FilCom Center). Proceeds from the fund-raising event will go to community programs for the elderly and youth not only in the Filipino community, but also the community at large.
The gala raised more than $150,000, said Churma, who thanked veteran journalist Emme Tomimbang. The latter was honored for her many “decades of community service and ability to elevate the visibility of the FilCom Center in Waipahu,” said Edmund Aczon, chairman of the FilCom Center board of directors.
“Emme’s stature in the community was able to attract an eclectic group of individuals from celebrities, entertainers, elected, corporate and religious leaders to justices of Hawaii court,” Aczon added.
“It was a magical night seeing all my friends in the audience,” said Tomimbang. “After all, my husband, Jim Burns, and I have been through to survive personal medical challenges, we felt the evening was truly a celebration of life. It’s such an honor and a privilege to support the FilCom Center and bring people who wouldn’t otherwise have ventured to this historic plantation town of Waipahu in order to see this beautiful center inspired by colonial Spanish design.”
Celebrity chefs Alan Wong, Roy Yamaguchi, DK Kodama, Philippe and Pierre Padovani, Paul Rivera created Filipino-inspired dishes with help from Derek Wong, Darryl Shinogi and culinary students from Leeward Community College, Kapiolani Community College and Hawaii Pacific University.
Event chair was Elias Beniga and the event co-chairs were former Hawaii first lady Vicky Cayetano and Maya Soetoro-Ng, sister of President Barack Obama.
Message from Obama
Soetoro-Ng read a personal note her brother had sent. The president quipped that he used to watch Emme on television when he was a student at Punahou School. He joined others in congratulating both Tomimbang and Burns for their big night at FilCom Center.
Continuous live entertainment included Jasmine Trias of “American Idol” fame and her boyfriend Ben Stone—for their first island duet—Kristian Lei, Jimmy Borges and Jordan Segundo, another “American Idol” star.
Emcees Steve Uyehara of HawaiiNewsNow, Augie T, Brickwood Galuteria, Carole Kai, Kimo Kahoano and Al Waterson kept the evening’s lively momentum.
Special guests were Lisa, Robin and Susan Freeman, the daughters of Leonard Freeman, who created the original “Hawaii 5-0.” They flew from Los Angeles to host a table for the members of the classic Hawaii police television drama—Al Harrington, Kimo Kahoano, Jimmy Borges and Dennis Chun. Current “Hawaii 5-0” executive producer Peter Lenkov sent a message congratulating Emme.
Fund-raising efforts are continuous in the FilCom Center. Tomimbang and the board will be gearing up for yet another fund-raising event, this time for the Filipino victims of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: “Haiyan”). The center will be accepting checks and partnering with Consuelo Foundation, a nongovernmental organization with offices located at Honolulu and the Philippines. The center is also involved with “Aloha Philippines,” which will receive donation for the typhoon victims through financial institutions—Bank of Hawaii, First Hawaiian Bank, American Savings Bank and Central Pacific Bank.
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