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Lifestyle // Good Neighbors
Nicole Kato

Rev. Alex Vergara

Photo from Rev. Alex Vergara

Photo from Rev. Alex Vergara

Rev. Alex Vergara was elected president of Oahu Filipino Community Council (OFCC), and last month he took the seat vacated by Jean Jeremiah.

“It was mixed emotions,” says Vergara of his appointment. “It’s a hard job sometimes … to be in the middle and lead an organization. Plus, the projects that we have, it’s a full-time job to go through and implement those projects.

“It’s a one-year term, unless I want to be more crazy and get another one-year term,” he continues with a laugh.

He explains the purpose of OFCC is to promote the cultural traditions of Filipinos here in Hawaii and the Philippines, while also acting as an umbrella support system for Filipino groups around the island.

In addition to cultural perpetuation, Vergara also will preside over monthly board meetings and represent approximately 40 unit organizations.

As president of OFCC, Vergara is looking to strengthen medical missions to the Philippines through partnerships with organizations such as Aloha Medical Mission and Ohana Medical Mission.

He has taken part in medical missions since 1993 and has traveled to Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Bangladesh and more.

“There were no more places to go,” he explains, “and I was volunteered to go to the Philippines. I enjoyed it because I could speak the language and I know the culture there. It was easier to make the connection with the local medical community, especially politicians.”

Another aspect of OFCC that Vergara is quite proud of is its sponsorship of the Miss Oahu Filipina pageant. Miss Oahu Filipina 2013, Erika Joy Ordonez, went on to win the title of Miss Hawaii Filipina the same year.

While OFCC’s many ventures keep Vergara busy, he finds time to volunteer as a commissioned police chaplain — a position he has held for nearly 18 years. He currently is assigned to District 8 and serves areas including Kapolei, Waianae and Ewa Beach.

While he was working toward senior chaplain status, Vergara compiled a 100-page document for local law enforcement as part of a required project.

“It’s a collection of prayers and other things, especially police humor,” he says. “Police have a different kind of humor. Some of them are even dark humor, but that’s how they compensate for what they see every day.”

All of Vergara’s efforts greatly impact society, and he says it’s all to make his community a better place.

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