CHICAGO – On her 70th birthday, a Filipino-American veterinarian paid tribute to the military where three of her eight children built their careers.
“Remember our men and women in uniform who dedicated their lives for the love of their country, especially my son Alan, who died while undergoing training to pursue his dream as a U.S. Marine,” Dr. Dona Lariosa Hernandez told her guests present last June 26 at the cafeteria of St. Gregory the Great Parish at Chicago’s northside.
One of her children, John, is still with the military as an Army sergeant. John has taken a couple of tour of assignments in Afghanistan.
Younger brother Herbert, who was also a U.S. Army specialist from Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Colorado, has left the military service to pursue a civilian vocation in Hawaii.
Dr. Hernandez also paid tribute to her clients, especially those who are still calling for her services. One of them, Ms Barbara H. Herlein, has been a client since 1975, “when we were still brunette.”
Ms Herlein is still her repeat loyal client to this day. The semi-retired Dr. Hernandez has limited her professional duties to house calls.
Empathy with pets
Dr. Hernandez said her other clients, Mr. and Mrs. Celso and Linda Aurelia, Ms. Ligaya Reyes, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Arroyo, and Aida Davila “more than ever have demonstrated their strong bond with their pets.”
“They go to great lengths to shower their pets with empathy, compassion, friendship, patience,” she added.
Among the guests was Dr. Pilar Pascual Cenir, also her classmate in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of the Philippines. Dr. Hernandez said she has known Dr. Cenir, the wife of Filipino community leader, Boni Cenir, “for more than 50 years.”
Most of her guests were parishioners and members of the Filipino congregation of St. Gregory the Great Parish, where she is a board member. Also present were five of her eight children: Larry, Helen, George, Neil and Joseph – and her grandchildren, her brothers Joseph and Ray, relatives and friends.
Rev. Paul Wachdorf, pastor of St. Gregory the Great Parish, opened the celebration with an invocation followed by a dinner, testimonials of Dr. Hernandez’s family and friends including Gina Ybardaloza and Susan Silvano, who are her fellow officers at St. Gregory.
A native of Pilar, Sorsogon, Dr. Hernandez immigrated to the US in the ’60s. She was one of the seven children of the late agriculture teacher Jose L. Lariosa of Sorsogon, Sorsogon and homemaker Consolacion G. Garra of Matnog, Sorsogon.
She opened her veterinary practice in Chicago. She has been a proud member of the American Veterinary Medical Association for 35 years and of the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association for 34 years. — LBG/FONJ, GMANews.TV