‘Hello, Dolly:’ Pidci welcomes 2013 Grand Marshal

Grand Marshal Dolly Rivera (right) with friend Ollie David

By Cristina DC Pastor

The weather was wintry-cold, the mood: merry, the event: An Evening with the Consul General, which also served as the coming-out party for Dr. Rebecca “Dolly” Rivera as the grand marshal of the 2013 Philippine Independence Day Parade.

Dressed in fire-engine reds, the men and women of the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (Pidci) welcomed Dr. Dolly to their ranks and caroled her with Christmas songs at the Upper East Side home of Consul General Mario de Leon Jr. Pidci organizes the annual June 12 parade in Manhattan where more than 300 Filipino American organizations participate.

A visibly delighted Dolly, a doctor and proprietor of four health care facilities for seniors in New Jersey, basked in the generous welcome from the Pidci flock, led by President Fe Martinez.

“I am beyond thrilled and deeply honored to be selected the Grand Marshall for the 2013 Philippine Independence Day Parade,” Dolly said in front of her audience that included past Grand Marshals Prospero Lim, Reuben Seguritan and Loida Nicolas Lewis. “At this point in my life I couldn’t ask for anything more exciting, and then this honor came along.”

Dr. Prospero Lim, this year’s GM, gave his homespun advice to his fellow doctor: “Keep busy and be prepared to open your (bank) book.” He pledged his support for Dolly, as he said others have given of their time and resources to mount the annual parade during his tenure. The Grand Marshal is an honorary position, whose main responsibility is to raise enough funds for the parade. Those who have held the title are typically people of means, such as business executives, lawyers, engineers and doctors.

Dolly has been an obstetrician/gynecologist for more than 35 years, working for hospitals in New York and New Jersey. She recruits Filipino nurses and health aides in her care facilities in Bridgewater and Hillsborough cities in New Jersey going to the extent of sponsoring their immigration to the U.S. She is the first female doctor to join the OB/Gyne department of the John F. Kennedy Hospital in Edison, enduring racial slurs and male chauvinism when she was just starting out.

“I’m just as good as you,” she would tell her male colleagues. Over time, her hard work and professional competence spoke volumes, and colleagues began to recognize her as an equal and a leader, she told The FilAm.

Retired school teacher Ollie David described her friend as an “advocate for Filipinos in need.”

Amid the merriment, Consul General de Leon reminded the guests of two recent tragedies — the hurricane Sandy that hit the New York Tri-State, and typhoon Bopha which landed in Mindanao – urging them to keep the victims in their hearts and prayers. “Although we are celebrating, there are many things happening (that we should not forget),” he said.

In his invocation, Monsignor Oscar Aquino urged FilAms to be mindful of the “deadly sin” envy, which, he said, can breed jealousies and destroy trust among friends and organizations.

Mostly red ladies, from left, Eleanor de Leon, Chelle Lhuillier, Margie Wisotsky, Violet McGough and Myrna de Guia-Gutierrez

Caroling led by ConGen and Mrs. De Leon

Open-toed and red hot.

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