With deep sense of humility and gratitude, I have accepted the responsibility of being the steward of NWAFAA for the year 2005. To all of you, I say, Thank You for your trust and support.
Through solid team effort, the 2004 set of officers did a superb job in setting a solid foundation for us to build on. Our hearts go out to Nilda Burgos, our past president, who, despite experiencing the seemingly unthinkable tragedy of losing both her parents within a short period of time, was able to provide a kind of leadership worth emulating. She really did a great job.
As we usher a new era, we need to remind ourselves that we owe our early leaders a debt of gratitude for conceiving and nurturing NWAFAA. The association was conceived in 1991 and officially formed in 1992. Flor Bean (now Tavarez) was the first President, followed by Connie McDonald, Julie Rowlett, Debbie Robinson, Nelia Couch, Marissa Whitfield, Linda Canaday, Becky Chavez, Cecille Scott, Bal Baguio, Theodith Valle, and Nilda Burgos. Their great work and sacrifices for the association are highly appreciated.
At the same time, we need to be vigilant against forces that could potentially weaken our unity---apathy, self-centeredness, jealousy and petty quarrels. These things, like rust, slowly eat away relationships and friendships—the anti-thesis of what we are trying to accomplish. We need to learn how to forgive and forget. We need to give willingly without thinking of something in return. Borrowing from JFK’s famous line, we ought to: “ask not what NWAFAA can do for us; ask what we can do for NWAFAA.” We need to encourage genuine service-oriented attitude.
One important lesson that I have learned through the years is that while we cannot control circumstances, we can control how we respond to circumstances. We can choose either to have a positive attitude, or be bitter and negative. Every time we wake up in the morning, we can choose to be happy or be depressed. We can opt to live by ourselves—comfortably independent and undisturbed, or we can choose to share our lives with other people. The key to happiness is to always look for the positives in the midst of seemingly unbearable situations. When we stumble, we need to get up and pick up something good. I realize that these things are easier said than done. But let me assure you that when you start doing them, the easier they become.
We have our own strengths and weaknesses. We need each other. Rather than focusing on our frailties, we have to pool our skills, and work together to accomplish our common goals. We need to encourage and develop genuine respect for one another, regardless of religion, color, national origin, gender, education, profession, position and possession.
Material possessions are important, and we can do a lot of good things with them, but we need to be mindful that what matters most in life is---not how fat our bank account is, nor how nice our car is, nor how big our house is, nor how good we look, nor how much we know—but rather how much we care, and treat people with respect.
NWAFAA is a venue to meet new friends and to renew old friendships. It serves as an important support group, especially for those who don’t have immediate families in this area. We promote “Bayanihan” and community service. We would also encourage members to network for career and business opportunities.
Lastly, let integrity, respect, camaraderie, teamwork and cooperation be the pervading spirit in our association. I have no doubt that, together, we can make a positive difference in the lives of our friends and family, and our community. Let’s join hands, and work together for the common good.
May God bless our association’s programs and activities in 2005!
Your servant leader,