‘I miss Hector Logrono and now feel the burden of his absence’

The author with PAGASAsfi founder Hector Logrono: ‘We worked well together’

The author with PAGASAsfi founder Hector Logrono: ‘We worked well together’

By Consuelo Almonte

The year was 2012. I just retired from the Pakistan Mission to the United Nations where I served for 43 years. My last position was Press Assistant to the Press Minister.

At Loida Nicolas Lewis’s residence in November, I was invited to a dinner for Eric Lachica who was to speak about his project, the U.S. Medical Portability to the Philippines. There, I met Hector Logrono, Jr., founder of Pagasa Social Foundation, Inc., a not-for-profit organization.

The objective of the foundation, as he explained it to me then, was to reach out to the growing numbers of isolated, elderly Filipino Americans looking for hub where they could gather and interact with other seniors, share their expertise and experiences in their given professions and restore their pride and respect. Needless to say, I found it interesting as I was then retired. I offered to volunteer.

However, Hector wanted me to be his vice. I informed him that all these years with the Pakistan Mission to the UN, I had very limited contact with the Filipino community. He was persistent and asked me to be his vice because it is a position without much to do. He said I could start getting acquainted with the community.

I finally accepted.

At a dinner at my home to meet all the officers, I was so delighted to become part of them. Hence, although the foundation was created in 2011 there were limited activities. With my joining, the first medical forum was held in March 2013. Thereafter, PAGASAsfi continues to hold various events including a health fair with Q&A on medical issues, medical screenings, i.e. glucose, various workshops, cultural event, line dancing, and bingo games. We try to hold our events every other Saturday.

Being concurrently the vice president of the University of the Philippines New York Chapter, I attended a meeting of the UP Alumni Association of America in Las Vegas, September 2013. Although I was traveling, I was always in touch with Hector at that time, talking about the upcoming activities of PAGASAsfi.

At my hotel in the evening of September 2, 2013, I had a lengthy conversation with Hector. In the morning, I got a message in the email that says Hector has died six hours before. I was in shock.

On my return to New York, I informed the co-founder, Sheila, who is the wife of Hector, that I really do not know if I could carry the work given my limited association with the Filipino community. However, she requested that I stay on because she felt that it was the premonition of Hector to leave me in charge.

I officially launched PAGASA Social Foundation, Inc. on October 11, 2013 at the Philippine Center on Fifth Avenue. My aim has always been to pursue the vision of Hector Logrono to serve the Filipino American elders. Hector planted the seed, and I pray that I will be able to accomplish and give rise to his dream for this foundation to flourish.

Hector was very attached to his disabled mother who was in his care at home. He had always dreamt of a home for Filipino seniors. He was very passionate about his goal, and I was thrust into it by his enthusiasm and honesty. We encountered a lot of discussions and sometimes I was behaving like the devil’s advocate; I was always questioning.

In one of our conversations, he got a bit exasperated and asked me: ‘Whose side are you on? We are here together.’

He always remembered my favorite expression: ‘I am upset.’ This, he would say before I could even say it. I was always seeking clarification.

Hector was very focused and sincere, and, because we had the same vision and goal we worked well together. We spoke for hours planning and charting our next project. I miss him terribly. I now feel the burden of his absence.

Hector Logrono passed away on September 3, 2013. There will be a memorial for him on September 27 at DJ International at 1100 Stewart Avenue, Garden City in New York. The public is invited. Please RSVP to the author at connie_almonte@yahoo.com.

PAGASAsfi’s Mothers Day celebration. Consuelo is standing at right; Hector’s widow Sheila, in striped shirt, is in front

PAGASAsfi’s Mothers Day celebration. Consuelo is standing at right; Hector’s widow Sheila, in striped shirt, is in front

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