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Colorado Asian Culture and Education Network (CACEN) recognized the 2015 Asian American Heroes of Colorado on Saturday, May 30, 2015 at Empress Seafood Restaurant in Denver Colorado. The event was sponsored by All State insurance, FirstBank, Nelnet, and Stevenson Toyota.

Hosting the awards ceremony was Fox 31’s Chris Jose. He welcomed Executive Director of CACEN, Annie Guo, to share a few words about the history of the awards that takes place during Asian- PacificAmerican Heritage Month. Celebrating its seventh year, the recipients were first nominated by members of the community,  and then selected by a committee of representatives from a dozen Asian- American community organizations. New this year was a $100 check presented to each awardee by Allstate insurance, our platinum sponsor.

Senator Michael Bennet wrote a personal letter to congratulate each awardee. A legislative proclamation written by State Representative Paul Rosenthal was presented by Annie Guo. Guests enjoyed the dim sum brunch as the program began. Steamed pork buns was just one of the several dishes served during brunch. Before starting the awards ceremony, Dr. Jaime Yrastorza, 2012 Asian American Hero of Colorado, spoke about his book From Freedom to Fire.

First, Harry Budisidharta introduced the Young Hero award recipient Suzuho Shimasaki, who is the Director, At-Large of the Colorado Public Health Association and the Health Equity Commissioner for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

University of Colorado at Denver student, Johnnie Nguyen, who nominated 2015 Asian American Hero Soyon Bueno, introduced her to the stage, sharing a story of how he first met Soyon in the hallway at the University of Colorado Denver.15

Fran Campbell was introduced by her nominators, Pam Sweeter and Jamie Torres. The duo recognized Campbell for serving as the commissioner for the Denver Asian Pacific American Commission, and for founding the “This is Me” program for Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families and serving as the former president of the Filipino American Community of Colorado.

Takoul Yang introduced his father Yang Chee, who is an active leader and spokesperson in the Hmong community, not only in Colorado but nationwide.

Next, John Chin introduced awardee, Howie Solow. Howie may not be Asian-American but he has been an incredible advocate of the Asian culture, specifically through shao lin martial arts. Howie is also the founder of Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu Association and a co-founder of the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival.
Lastly, Aurelia Grinstead introduced Gloria Williams, an active leader in Colorado’s Asian and Filipino community for many decades.