(By Tedi Mae Tortolano - Reprinted from the Pantry Newsletter)
Actively employed in the Import-Export Trade business, a young John Pan was one among a group of business associates from Taiwan who travelled to the United States in 1969 to promote a continuing business exchange.
Succumbing to the lure of opportunities that presented themselves, John became involved in the American dream, and remained in the United States, continuing to work in the trade business. John resides in West Hills with his wife of 40 years, Bo Land, an employee of the U.S. Postal Service in Santa Clarita. They are the parents of two sons, who both, John proudly states, "graduated from UCLA".
By 1975 John was employed by Lucky Supermarkets where he continued using his business expertise in the retail grocery business until his retirement in 2004. With free time to fill, John became involved in volunteering, which in due time led him to the West Valley Food Pantry in 2008, where you will find John using his acumen in the handling and stocking of groceries. Now 76 years of age, John's simple reason for devoting his time in service to the Food Pantry is: "For as long as I can I want to pay back to the community for the help I've received over the years."
Soft spoken and conversant in English (with a slight accent), you are sure to put a smile on John's face if you greet him with "Chiok li' kin a' jit." (Have a nice day.)
Debbie and son Chris at the Awards Banquet
(Reprinted from the Pantry Newsletter)
Debbie Decker has been selected and awarded the Impact-Makers To Watch Award, an annual distinction for those who are doing foundational work to make a positive impact in Los Angeles and will continue to do so throughout the year, with significant results. This award is not a competition. Eighteen exceptional Angelenos, are designated by members of the LA City Council, the LA County Board of Supervisors, and other invited City Impact Lab impact-makers.
Debbie was nominated by the Office of Councilmember Bob Blumenfield stating: "Debbie Decker's goal for helping others and her tenacity make her a force to be reckoned with and an impact-maker to watch."
Debbie began working for others at UCLA in 1975 when she helped resettle two Vietnamese refugee families. Debbie felt so much satisfaction being of service to a family in distress, that she decided helping people would be a part of her life. She left the corporate world in 1998 and began working for nonprofits, helping resettle over 6,000 refugees. In 2002, she developed a food pantry in Atwater Village to help refugees stretch their limited resources. In 2013, she joined us at our West Valley Food Pantry, where in addition to our feeding program, she helps to connect our clients to other needed assistance such as housing, health, and social services that will improve their lives.
We are so very, very proud of her receiving this distinguished award.