Residents of National City and Chula Vista were recognized recently for public service and advocacy efforts in their community.
Molina Healthcare, which focuses on serving low-income individuals and families that are underserved, honored Jim
Lovell and Fanny Miller at its fourth annual Champions awards dinner last week.
“It’s our way of paying it forward in the community and recognizing the unsung heroes who embody the spirit of service, family and community,” Molina Healthcare community outreach director Ruthy Argumedo said.
Winners were presented with a $1,000 check to the organization of their choice.
Lovell, a National City resident, was nominated by Survivors of Torture International, an organization that helps survivors of politically motivated torture in San Diego.
Lovell, 43, has been the executive director of the Third Avenue Charitable Organization (TACO) and a social worker since 2003.
The organization began as an outreach of the First Lutheran Church, providing meals for the homeless and seniors who don’t have enough money for food.
Today it also serves people through various clinics from Fallbrook to San Ysidro in partnership with four institutions, providing social services for more than 1,000 homeless.
For at least the last 10 years, more than 100 homeless have died on the streets of San Diego annually, according to Lovell.
“The impact of that each year is a powerful reminder to have good healthcare options,” Lovell said.
The organization also provides counseling services and case management for individuals during their last months of life.
“We have a policy of no wrong door, meaning that someone can get more than what they came for,” Lovell said. “I try to be the person who is championing the needs of health in the community. I feel honored to do this type of work.”
Chula Vista resident Fanny Miller was recognized for her service with Binational Health Week, a group of federal and state government agencies, community-based organizations and volunteers that helps underserved Latino populations.
Miller, 45, also founded the El Latino newspaper, which participates in a countywide annual event held in English and Spanish called Celebrando, put on by Sharp Healthcare.
Miller led the Spanish event last year, which empowers women through a series of keynote speakers, breakout sessions and free medical exams and workshops on nutrition and concludes with a fashion show.
“What continues to motivate me is that there’s a need for good information and people to feel that they have a place to go for resources.”
Miler is donating the money to A Women’s Wellness Center in Chula Vista.